This series of thoughts has been really productive. Jon Ippolito's fine post got me to wondering whether the necessary requirements for real STEM or genuine STEAM might engage in some way with the issues that one must take on board in any kind of robust education.
Good scientists and artists alike are curious about the world — and the world speaks back to both. Sociologist Herbert Blumer used to speak about the "obdurate nature of reality" against which any kind of insight must be measured. To be sure, breakthroughs must also be measured against the nature of invention and imagination.
Some kind of dialectic is always in operation. Perhaps it must be if we (human beings) are to develop and move forward.
Ken Friedman, PhD, DSc (hc), FDRS | Editor-in-Chief | 设计 She Ji. The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation | Published by Tongji University in Cooperation with Elsevier | URL: http://www.journals.elsevier.com/she-ji-the-journal-of-design-economics-and-innovation/
Chair Professor of Design Innovation Studies | College of Design and Innovation | Tongji University | Shanghai, China ||| University Distinguished Professor | Centre for Design Innovation | Swinburne University of Technology | Melbourne, Australia
> On Dec 31, 2016, at 8:56 PM, Jon Ippolito <email@example.com> wrote:
> I agree with Glenn's observation that great Euro-ethnic art of previous centuries has reflected a sympathetic dialogue between medium and creator, and that's the path I pursued originally when following my father's footsteps as an oil painter. Yet it's a luxury I had to abandon once I turned to new media, because there simply is no single medium for a given piece. A video installation by Pipilotti Rist or Nam June Paik changes its monitors, decks, and even video standards when it travels from Chicago to Hamburg to Seoul. Internet artists get used to having their art look different in Firefox versus IE, on Mac versus Windows, on a 4k screens or an iPad. I once conducted a study to see how many times a typical computer-based installation changed over a year and a half, and the answer was 22. 
> Speaking of ongoing investigations versus unchanging products, I don't think we'll get very far in the attempt to establish similarities between art and science by scrutinizing their end products. With a couple of exceptions, every science textbook I've seen presents established theories in a manner without any resemblance to how they were actually discovered. Science proceeds not by tidy summaries or efficient deductions, but by puzzlement (Einstein), distraction (Archimedes), irreverence (Feinman), recalcitrance (Avogadro), accident (Fleming), and serendipity (Penzias and Wilson).
> In particular, as much as we might prefer our science free of metaphors and analogies, they have played an important role in the history of mathematical and scientific discoveries.  Kekule discovered the benzene ring after a dream about atoms dancing. Math is full of homologies: exponentiation is to multiplication as multiplication is to addition.
> Ironically, the current state of STEM education in the US seems almost deliberately designed to eradicate independence of thought and appreciation of disorientation. Teaching to the test leaves no time for open-ended conceptual or experimental exploration. Students are evaluated based on whether they know the "right answers," rather than whether they can ask good questions.
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