By | July 26, 2017

It’s unsurprising that nearly all the greatest scientists and mathematicians — Shannon, Einstein, Noether, Curie, etc. — took a deep interest in the arts and humanities.

Unlike most STEM folks, the truly great thinkers did not shun but rather embraced the “soft” subjects that are seen as unworthy and terrible by the typically STEM-infected.

Claude Shannon loved poetry; Einstein thought this; Emmy Noether loved dancing; Curie followed the works of actors, directors and choreographers.

There’s always been something of a separation of the arenas and I agree with Snow that the humanities types should learn some science and math (at least concepts), but it’s only been relatively recently that the STEM types have declared the humanities utterly unworthy of study with no possible lessons to be imparted there.

Of course the revenge is that the best scientists and thinkers are usually those who are well-versed in or at least interested in many different fields.

Nobel laureates were significantly more likely to engage in arts and crafts avocations than Royal Society and National Academy of Science members, who were in turn significantly more likely than Sigma Xi members and the U.S. public.

This does not surprise me in the least. If you can only think about one thing, you cannot think about much.