Not long ago, the Arts and Sciences shared the same breathing space. Then an inexplicable gulf widened between them. That doesn’t change the fact that da Vinci and Durer had obvious talents for science the same way Copernicus and Pasteur possessed obvious artistic gifts. The technology and knowledge necessary to erect Brunelleschi’s Dome in Florence was cutting edge. According to Jacobus van t’Hoff, who won the inaugural Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1901, “The most innovative scientists are almost always artists, musicians, or poets.”
Left Brain/Right Brain is our attempt at seeing Art through Science and Science through Art.
1. A Guided Journey Into the Living Forest – The engagement between Nature and human expression stretches back millenia. From Timpuseng cave to Walden, the relationship between the two has borne substantial fruit. The Living Forest (Timber Press), a collaboration between Joan Maloof and Robert Llewellyn belongs to this rich tradition.
2. Real and Irrational: Evan Daniel and the art of π – Evan Daniel is an artist and he is obsessed with π (pi). He’s memorized that famous, non-repeating constant up to digits most people wouldn’t even dream of.
3. Come Together: Julia Buntaine and the SciArt Center – Through her inspired efforts at the SciArt Center, Buntaine has provided artists and scientists with a venue to explore, question, and discover.
4. Brigitte Caramanna: The Patterned Landscape – Caramanna’s etchings range from intimate cellular landscapes to vast, otherworldly stretches of rocky terrain.
5. Darwin Comes to Town: Menno Schilthuizen Discusses Urban Evolution – Menno Schilthuizen’s new book, Darwin Comes to Town (Picador, $27.00), dives into the phenomenon of urban evolution.
6. The Space Barrons (Review) – Christian Davenport’s highly accessible though slightly uncritical book, The Space Barons (PublicAffairs) recounts the charismatic charge of three and a half self-made billionaires who share the vision, courage, and audacity to challenge the existing paradigm of space travel, namely that it occurs under government dime and direction.
7. A Glimpse of the Technological Apocalypse (Review) – The Feed, Nick Clark Windo’s debut novel, deals with what humanity will become in the future should a catastrophic event wipe out all forms of technology.
8. Fraternizing with the Enemy in Michael Mammay’s Planetside (Review)- How will we interact with them is perhaps the most difficult to predict? One possible answer to that nagging question lies at the heart of debut author Michael Mammay’s novel, Planetside(Harper Voyager).
9. Say You Want a Revolution: Jared Vaughn Davis, Karl Popper, and the Irreconcilable – Karl Popper’s influence pervades Jared Vaughan Davis’ work. It provides the framework for his exploration of a variety of topics ranging from cosmology and physics to mythology and metaphysics.
10. China Blue: Painting with brain waves, sculpting with sound, recording Saturn’s rings – China Blue’s work involves making the intangibile manifest. It’s no sleight of hand either. To various degrees she somehow allows her audience to experience an unseen world that surrounds us every moment of our lives.
11. Astounding: Alec Nevala-Lee’s unflinching look at Sci-Fi’s Golden Era and it’s hopeless misogyny– For Sci-Fi neophytes and old-timers alike, Astounding offers a detailed, unflinching, and critical look at a few of the personalities that helped shape modern science fiction.
12. Marie Munk: Commodifying intimacy in a virtual world – Marie Munk’s work relies on the body as a launch point in which to explore the many ways we relate to our bodies whether it be through body modifications or plastic surgery.
13. Ellen Hanauer: Deciphering the power and the glory of the human body – The lines in her work curve and turn and bulge into organic forms. Nothing is rigid. Rather, her forms are malleable and flexible, versatile in a distinctly feminine way.
14. Out There: Michael Wall offers a layman’s guide to the hunt for alien life – Ironically enough, modern science has assumed the stargazing mantle but have shifted their focus to exploring the universe for even the faintest indication of organic life forms.
15. Doing Darwin Proud: Sneed B. Collard III introduces evolution to a young audience – Sneed B. Collard III’s latest children’s science book, One Iguana, Two Iguanas: A story of accident, natural selection, and evolution, goes a long way toward addressing the fundamental illiteracy plaguing public understanding.
16. Mania Efstathiou: Isolation and the loss of self in healthcare settings – Mania Efstathiou draws on her work as a doctor to create works that not only confronts age old questions about Life and Death, but also the inadvertent isolation sick patients are subjected to from the moment they are admitted into a hospital.
17. Polaris Rising: Genetically enhances humans and the normalization of the grotesque – Polaris Rising, the first installment of a space opera trilogy by novelist Jessie Mihalik, throws its hat into the larger discourse about Science’s increasing influence over nature, albeit indirectly.
18. Captured, Conserved, and Reinterpreted – The product of a collaboration between Mia Cassany and Marcos Navarro , The Wilderness focuses on habitats around the world that are under threat from rampant deforestation, uncontrolled urbanization, and runaway climate change.
19. Vasia Hatzi: Confronting Science From a Different Perspective – Vasia Hatzi is a scientist and artist whose work distills scientific concepts down to their essence.
20. Emotionalism and Empiricism in the Lab – Andrea Rothman’s novel, The DNA of You and Me (Harper Collins), captures the some of the interpersonal dynamics that can make the empirical analysis more of an art and less a science.
21. Annelies Slabbynck: Exploring the imperfect immutability of the female form – When you study and dissect a garment, it closely correlates with the human architecture. Ruptures in old textile pieces resemble scars and show the fragility of a body. Tissue and fabrics, especially the old pieces, combined with clay and wax act as a second skin.
22. Clement DuPont: The history of the earth in 8 magnificent meters – One of the challenges of writing and illustrating the book was showing the passage of time, which I chose to represent and break into eons, periods, and epochs, covering smaller and smaller time frames.
23. Travis Bedel’s Memento Mori – The entirety of Bedel’s artwork is Memento Mori. It is to remind us of the impermanence of life and the beauty of the natural world.
24. Bacteriophage Therapy Makes All the Difference – Steffanie Strathdee’s book, The Perfect Predator (Hachette Books), tells the story of her husband’s near-fatal brush with antibiotic resistant bacteria and how experimental phage therapy made the difference between life and death.
25. The Misunderstood Shark – Ame Dyckman and Scott Magoon’s Misunderstood Sharkseries of children’s books takes a different approach to one of the ocean’s most fearsome creatures. It’s not horror and it’s not super-cutesy.
26. The Last Unknowns: An Invitation to Explore – The right question opens doors and allows people to explore what was once stowed away. The Last Unknowns(William Morrow) is a veritable treasure trove of these type of questions.
27. Am I Dying?: Deciphering Ailments without the Jargon and Alarmism – It’s hard to find good information online. Most of it is written by people who do not actually practice medicine, contains numerous errors, and/or has an unnecessarily alarming tone.
28. End of Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World – Walsh draws on multiple fields in an attempt to root out the source of humanity’s denial and ignorance toward existential risks.
29. An American Weimar: Devastation and defeat in Christopher Brown’s Rule of Capture – Christopher Brown’s latest novel, Rule of Capture (Harper Voyager), is set in a humbled America that has just lost a war against China.
30. Sandra Yagi: Life, Death, and Le Petit Mort – Sandra Yagi’s art is equal parts offensive, macabre, beautiful, playful, and profound. That’s pretty perfect, if you ask us. She set aside time to discuss her work.
31. Mara G. Haseltine: Environmentally conscious art driven by form and function – Haseltine’s striking artworks’ main inspiration has always come from the natural world, in particular the marine world and the microscopic realm.
32. Machines Not Like Me (Review) – In his new novel, Machines Like Me, Ian McEwan examines what it truly means for robots to be made in the image of humans, and whether the idea can ever be achieved (spoiler: it can’t).
33. Something Deeply Hidden (Review) – Prospective readers of CalTech Theoretical Physicist Sean Carroll’s latest book, Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime, will be introduced to the realm of quantum mechanics with a warning: “You don’t need a PhD in theoretical physics to be afraid of quantum mechanics. But it doesn’t hurt.”
34. Forgotten Beasts: Amazing Creatures That Once Roamed the Earth – This picture book from Pavilion Press focuses readers’ attention on the lesser known but no less majestic animals that have faded into history.
35. Lifespan: Why We Age―and Why We Don’t Have To – what if the wrinkles, aches, and frailty we’ve come to recognize as signs of aging weren’t so much our birthright but symptoms of what would be the most pervasive disease to impact humankind?
36. The Darwin Strain – Bill Schutt and J.R. Finch’s latest installment of R.J. MacCready adventure novels picks up not long after the Himalayan Codex left off.
37. The Brain is a Big Deal– The book explains the organ and it’s importance to young readers. Mixing illustrations with concise explanations, the book balances a light-hearted, humorous approach with the necessity of conveying scientific facts.
38. Octopus: Making Contact – Anna Fitch, the film’s director, and David Scheel, the scientist featured in the film, set aside some time to discuss their experiences making the documentary.
39. The Andromeda Evolution – This follow up to The Andromeda Strain picks up some fifty years after Piedmont, Arizona’s narrow escape from biological annihilation.
40. When The Earth Had Two Moons: Cannibal Planets, Icy Giants, Dirty Comets, Dreadful Orbits, and the Origins of the Night Sky – Eric Asphaug compiles the results of his research into a handy guide detailing space’s quirkiest phenomenon.
41. Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat (REAPPRAISAL) – In seeking a way to better examine questions such as these, look no further than Hal Herzog’s intuitive book titled, “Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat.”
42. Life From Above (INTERVIEW) – Last night, the final installment of the series, Life From Above, aired on PBS. Individually and taken as a whole, it captured the vibrancy, beauty, and dynamism of the planet’s surface as it undergoes changes, both man-made and natural.
43. Late Bloomers (REVIEW) – In the Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed With Early Achievment, author Rich Karlgaard argues that society’s obsession with early achievement to the exclusion of individuals who achieve greater things later in life has led to people ultimately not trying anymore after they reach a certain age.
44. The Whale Detective (INTERVIEW) – At first glance, whales appear as invincible as they are massive. They dwarf humans and, while swimming in the ocean, project a sense of inevitability. Their movements mix power and grace.
45. Gene Eating (REVIEW) – These days, fad diets come and go like the seasons. Gene Eating (Pegasus Books) by Dr. Giles Yeo serves as a much needed “anti-diet” book.
46. Wild Florida (INTERVIEW) – Talking about the environment can be complicated, in particular the threats facing the Earth. Climate change can often suck the air out of discussion with its site forecasts and the passion of ignites between advocates and deniers.
47. Conversations with Anja Taylor – Nature has been working with a team of producers on the ground to cover the rescue and recovery stories from Southwest Australia, where kangaroos, wombats, tiger snakes and more have been transported and cared for their injuries suffered during the fire.
48. Conversations with Weiqi Wang – Weiqi Wang is the author of a fantasy series, Code of Rainbow. What sticks out about his writing is the way in which it melds the real with the imagined. In this case, Wang has incorporated scientific elements as a backbone to Code of Rainbow’s narrative.
49. Conversations with Serena Davies – Hosted by esteemed naturalist David Attenborough, Climate change – the Facts takes viewers through the issues fueling climate change and the agendas informing climate change denial, and highlight the consequences of uncurbed carbon emissions.
50. The Uninhabitable Earth (REVIEW) – Picture this. The sky hasn’t been truly blue in your lifetime, and people tell lore of a past form of precipitation called snow; a time where humans weren’t the only species on the planet.
51. Breath: The Science of a Lost Art (REVIEW) – As much as you can control your breathing for the activity you’re engaged in, breathing is rather subconscious. Breath makes you realize that despite diets, age, exercise, race or ethnicity, we are all identical when it comes to taking a breath.
52. The Incredible Journey of Plants (REVIEW) – Mancuso challenges his readers to think different: “We will never be able to understand plants if we look at them as if they were impaired animals. They are a form of life that is different, neither simpler nor less developed, than the animal form/ of life.”
53. Face Masks and Freedom (ESSAY) – The COVID-19 pandemic presents several substantial ethical, political, and economic challenges. The present discussion highlights some important aspects of the ethical issues and how they are related to fundamental political issues.
54. Conversations with Adam Falkner: On poetry, social identity, and queer narratives (INTERVIEW) – In his new release, The Willies, Adam Falkner offers unabashed takes on subjects scrutinized under the lens of scientific inquiry: alcoholism, male sexuality and family trauma.
55. Love Drugs (REVIEW)– Brian D. Earp and Julian Savulescu’s joint project, Love Drugs: The Chemical Future of Relationships returns MDMA and other empathogens to the therapist’s office. https://bit.ly/3hiXWjH