The Art of Science: Watching The Future Melt


The Art of Science: Watching The Future Melt


We seldom think about the art of science, let alone the science of art, but we should, because there is overlap. Science certainly has its artistic elements, while art plays an important role in visualizing science.

Good science isn’t only about logic, deduction, and hypothesis testing. It’s also about good communication, allowing others to understand and appreciate the results and implications of science.

Scientists often practice or illustrate artistic endeavors when they use creativity and imagination to weave complex patterns of knowledge and theories while designing studies and interpreting what they see. But even creative research, and especially ordinary, dry, methodical research, doesn’t always result in improving general knowledge among the public as fast as we want or need.


Art & Climate Science


The window of time to avert the worst of global warming is rapidly closing. It may be too late already to avoid serious and devastating global damage. Art can help.

One of the biggest challenges in getting people to accept and understand climate change and global warming is to find ways for people to visualize the implications of climate science. Sometimes that understanding may come from scientific publications, boringly precise technical descriptions, and shocking statistics, but probably not. More often dramatic, graphic, and visual depictions may capture our attention and move our hearts.

The human brain works hard to discount or rationalize evidence that conflicts with our morals, values, and world views, but it’s hard to deny what the eye sees. Eventually, the dynamic forces of Nature, the tsunami, the hurricane, the mudslide, the flood that washes away homes and lives cannot be denied.

Some want to deny that humans now play the lead role in driving climate change, but when the ice melts right in front of us, it doesn’t confirm global warming, but we may internalize and better feel the essence and importance of the science. Sometimes, perhaps even most of the time, emotions work where logic fails.

So watch ‘The Future’ melt in the above video. It won’t take long. Only four minutes. After that, we encourage you to watch the video below for the public interviews on the street that were part of this project and then explore the behind-the-scenes making of this exhibit at Melted Away.





Credits & Additional Information:


[The above article was inspired by the reports of Andrew C. Revkin in his posts: Humanity’s Long Climate and Energy March and With Warming, ‘The Future’ Isn’t What it Used to Be.

Andrew C. Revkin, in his excellent Dot Earth section of The New York Times, reported on the work of the artists, Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reesewho created an ice sculpture as part of the “People’s Climate March” held in Manhattan, Sept. 21, 2014.

More information about the artists and this project, including photos, additional videos, and the artist’s statement may be found at: Melted Away.

Photo credits: Glacier photo: Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina. Source: Wikipedia. Author: Luca Galuzzi – www.galuzzi.itCC-BY-SA 2.5 license.]



Online Classes, School of the Environment, Washington State University:

For those who are interested in taking online science classes and studying the types of ecology and environmental issues covered here in Nature @ WSU, you may contact the WSU Global Campus for information about:

Conservation Biology (Natrs 450 / 550) 3 cr. The science of conserving life on Earth. Dynamics of conserving biological diversity and threatened and endangered species. Junior-senior-graduate standing, next offering Spring Semester, 2015.

Restoration Ecology (Natrs 454) 3 cr., Ecological principles used to restore biological communities, ecological processes, and species on degraded landscapes. Interdisciplinary Capstone Science Course. Senior standing, next offering Fall Semester, 2015.

Environmental Assessment (Envr_Sci 444) 4 cr. Environmental impact statements and their national and state policy frameworks, methods of assessment, and team preparation of an impact statement.

The Science and Policy of Climate Change (Envr_Sci 285) 3 cr. The science of the climate system; the case for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the best policies to do so.

Earth’s History and Evolution (Geology 210) 4 cr. Introduction to Earth’s history and evolution through observations, data collection and analysis, readings, and writing exercises.

The Environment, Human Life, and Sustainabiltiy (Envr_Sci 101) 4 cr. Interactions between humans and their environment; multidisciplinary introduction to environmental concepts and concerns.

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