I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like had I gone into mathematics rather than music. Given that I’d practically quit playing the cello for close to eight years during a time I was seriously considering pursuing a field that can only be referred to as “Comparative Neurolinguistcs” and how much the understanding of cognitive biases informs my understanding of the economic and social issues I tend to blog about here I’m still surprised that I haven’t made the leap into the sciences rather than sticking to the arts. This post by Fire & Air probably reflects some of my frustration with artists and arts advocates!
Originally posted on Fire and Air:
… and how many people are always shocked at how scientists are so well-rounded. This musing is of course occasioned by the Mars landing but has been ruminated upon by me before.
How many more Cliburn amateur competition winners with doctorates in chemistry do there have to be before we ditch the pocket-protector stereotype that the rest of the world seems to cling to? Even your humble blogger has a very, very hard science past. There’s the lately-ubiquitous Zoe Keating, ex-technologist who was able to blend her tech knowledge with music in a way that’s gotten her a ton of acclaim. Hell, even NASA’s skinny-Elvis EDL team lead engineer is a bass guitarist who previously aimed for a career in music. (Twenty bucks says that guy’s got ink.) Plus the various people I knew in grad school, lots of them. And NASA’s past crop of shuttle astronauts and their rock band, Max Q.
And yet contrast this with the number of professional trained musicians who are amateur astronomers, tech hobbyists, or at the very least not so eager to badmouth the sciences as uncreative and unimaginative, not “personally expressive.”