Art and science careers

Written by emily pate
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Art and science careers
You can use animation and illustration to visualise scientific concepts. (myocarditis image by Lukasz Mazurkiewicz from

If you wish for a career that fuses art and science, disciplines like architecture offer traditional options. You may also pursue newly developed disciplines, like art authentication using scientific imaging and scientific visualisation. Some jobs lean more towards the creative side, while others rely heavily on technical, scientific knowledge.

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Architects blend science and art to design and plan the environments people use daily and to manage and supervise the construction involved. Prospective architects prepare by studying history, math, physics, science, foreign languages and English. This ensures that the candidates will have imagination and inspiration for innovative design and the technical abilities to execute that design. You can choose a five- to six-year bachelor's degree program or a four-year undergraduate program with a two- to three-year master's degree component. An education in architecture may also lead to other jobs that blend science and art, like photography or graphic design.

Animation and illustration

You can work in disciplines like illustration or animation to depict and visualise scientific concepts. Harvard Medical School's Janet Iwasa created innovative tools to illustrate the workings of a cell's cytoskeleton, or framework. She now lectures on molecular visualisation. Bang Wong, the founder of the design firm, ClearScience, also works in science visualisation. His company collaborates with TV journals like "NOVA scienceNow" to help communicate ideas in visual media.

Research microscopy and scientific imaging

This career choice involves authenticating art, antiques or historical archaeological pieces. Clients are typically museums or private individuals, depending on where you work. Researchers use carbon dating, chromotography and other tools to identify artefacts. They then assess whether artists of the presumed period would have had access to such materials. Scientific "tools" like pigmentation can prove an art piece is a forgery if the type of material used is too modern for the alleged origin date. If you are interested in art forgery, you can study for a Master's in International Art Crimes Studies.

Art and science

You may also pursue an art career that directly uses scientific technology. Eduardo Kac practices what is called "transgenic art" (what Kac calls the transference of genetic material from one species to another to form a new living being) and uses the Internet as part of his works. For example, in his art installation, "Teleporting an Unknown State," Kac set up a video projector pointed to a planted seed in a dark room. Internet users all over the world were asked to point their webcams to the sky to "teleport" their photons to the plant to help it grow. The projector receiving the video images provided a cone of light for the plant and it did, indeed, grow. The exhibit proved that the Internet can support life. This type of career requires a strong art education and technology background (computer science, for example).

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