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Art & Science

Science and art tell us something about ourselves and about the world.

Science observes, measures, calculates and proposes hypotheses. Whether that be about nature, technology, humans or society, science is expected to be ‘accurate’ and to represent ‘the truth’. It is recognized that meeting these expectations is not always an easy task. Art, on the other hand, does not need to bother about the truth. Art is free to transgress reality and to subvert that truth, and attempts – paradoxically - to say in its own way something meaningful about ourselves and reality.

One could say that science has the responsibility to present truth whilst art, on the contrary, has no such responsibility.  Yet we still consider that science can learn from art, since our current societal challenges make it clear that science today is expected to do more than merely measure and calculate. Whether that concerns the realities of climate change or radioactive waste governance, we find that science today, in attempting to make meaningful claims about these realities, also needs to take into account that which cannot be calculated, and that which is considered valuable, without the need to justify that value with scientific proof. We believe art and science can find each other in this kind of research.

From this perspective, the SCK CEN Academy, in cooperation with the PISA group, has set up the ‘Art & Science’ project as one of its essential activities. Via recurring initiatives, SCK CEN researchers are invited to take up the challenge of approaching their research not only as scientists, but also as artists.

SCK CEN Art & Science project – 2021: photo contest “Picture your research”

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