Knowledge is Beautiful
Elyse Graham '07
Department of English, Comparative Literature studies
This image is the first from a series of 12. They depict some of history's great scientific minds with the seductive physical draw that their minds hold for us intellectually. It's a laugh, but it's also a recollection of Blaise Pascal's "Clarity of mind is clarity of passion." We practice science because we love it. So, too, do we practice art. The figures are given male heads and female bodies in part to appropriate the old Platonic notion that divides "Mother" Nature (wild, sensual, unpredictable) and "Father" Science (logic and linearity). Contemporary investigation, criticism, and mixing between different sciences and spheres (History of Science, astrobiology, and so on) is opening those borders to new fields of analysis. The imagery also interrogates the traditional male-centeredness of science, and looks to an opening world in which science is performed by, and for, all of humanity rather than a restricted category or sex.