I was browsing through the BBC Radio 4 earlier today and I came across a programme called “All you need is Lab”. This episode was all about how science and technology have been key in the music industry. It was presented by Midge Ure of Ultravox.
What I found so interesting about this show is not specifically that I am a musician, but because I am a scientist by training and although I did my degree years ago topics like this really fuel my interest again. It reminds me of just why I fell in love with science as a geeky 12 year old.
My personal preference has always been human biology, which has obviously fared me well in my current work – but chemistry and physics are so exciting. It was only due to some very poor teachers that I finally gave up on physics in school, before that I found it exciting and enthralling.
Often people think of science as this boring subject at school that they just had to put up with, and there has always been a bit of a “Us and Them” situation between science and the arts. But if you think about it science is necessary throughout the creative industry too.
Have a think about some of the creative things we do:
- Painting – the colour pigments are due to science, the textures and ability to not peel off and be wipeable (in the bathroom and kitchen) are due to science.
- Gardening – plant science is a huge thing. How to grow your own veg is everywhere these days but it’s down to science that we know how and why to grow the best crops and get the highest yields. It’s due to science that we have seeds that are drought and pest resistant.
- Cooking and baking – Are you baker like me? I love it, and I realise it’s because it reminds me of being in a lab. Carefully measuring ingredients and mixing them together in the right way to create wonderful things. Modern gastronomy and molecular gastronomy have taken off it a big way, and it’s thanks to the likes of Heston Blumenthal that we have so much more knowledge of it. He shows that science and cooking are a wonderful thing.
- Drama and Dance – think of these great theatrical productions. It’s due to science that they are able to work out the safe and best ways to astound us with their sets.
- Music – what this Radio 4 programme showed us was how science and technology has helped popular music and musicians throughout the years – and who doesn’t love to listen to music?
I’m sure that there are plenty more examples to show that science shouldn’t just be a dull and boring dry subject that you are forced to do at school. It can be exciting and fun and is involved in so many of the things we love to do. It is most definitely not the enemy that some people think it to be.