Science in the Art College
Students taking a Foundation Course in Art colleges are encouraged to broaden their educational experience as far as possible. From a practical and even a purely cultural standpoint, a knowledge of science seems invaluable or even essential. But the problem remains of what science to introduce - and at what level? One solution is to talk about the history of science or the philosophy but theses young people are not interested in placing a study which they barely comprehend in a perspective which they do not appreciate. They are more interested in the direct experience of scientific activity. Once they realise that they need not think of themselves as ";artists"; or as 'scientists"; but as individuals who can participate in one activity as readily as in the other, then the organiser of such a course starts with a basis of goodwill and enthusiasm.
But what of the obvious disadvantage, their lack of scientific or even mathematical knowledge? This situation is not confined to Art students. Any interdisciplinary approach must consider the base on which it is to build. This problem can be overcome by rejecting the idea of building a firm foundation of mathematics and the principles of measurement and adopting a phenomenon - based approach. Start with the object, the material, the process or the observation and look very closely. Use a magnifying glass or a microscope or ultrasonics or x-ray diffraction. It is not necessary to comprehend wave particle duality to see the effects of the ultra-small in an electron microscope.