May 24, 2014

Science and Humanities work best Together, like a Guitar or a Book?

Guitars, Books, Computers. Symbols of Science PLUS Humanities.

Some of us agree that real useful changes and discoveries come from persons or teams that know something about science and something about humanities.

From DaVinci to Franklin, to Curie to Jobs, all of these persons were working in the intersections and overlapping space of the humanities and science.
I recommend the following interview of Steve Jobs' biographer Walter Isaacson with Ira on Science Friday from NPR.

Science and technology should always advance humanity. Like my guitars that make cool music because of the physics of vibration, we are best to think of the computer on our lap in the same way. Technology that works for humanity. Steve Jobs noted that if he had not stumbled into a caligraphy/typography class in college, that he was not registered in, and hung out there to enjoy the beauty and artistic nature of letters and words, then he would not have realized that the Mac should use proportional fonts and we would never have seen the MacIntosh computer with selections of typefaces. Since Windows mostly copied these moves by Apple, you would not have seen them on that platform either. Of course, we take font selection completely for granted and expect it to be there on any computer program used for writing or graphics.

Link to the podcast below, and I highly recommend the book, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. 

Biographer Walter Isaacson explains why the future belongs to those who can merge the arts and the sciences. (---- Sent from Public Radio & Podcast 2.9.26

In keeping with the humanity of the interface, I read it in its hard cover, no battery required, book form. I have more than enough pdf's of science papers to read on the computer. Pdf's and paper, not giving up one or the other? That is ok. Its a balance of science and the humanities.

Those are my socks and guitar in the picture. Guitar is very important to me, as a working scientist. Controls stress, its fun, and I have taught some of my kids and others how to play. Here is an example on Youtube: Slide Guitar Lesson from an Eye Researcher :)

Ken Mitton

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