01 June 2009

A little appreciation would be nice

Not everyone is instantly drawn to or thrilled by classical music. It’s hard to get the technical proficiency to play that kind of music yourself. And the vocabulary! What is a “cantata” or a “fugue,” for crying out loud? The high level of specialized techniques and vocabulary often puts up a wall between the art and the audience, even though art is supposed to be universal.

In many universities, there are often classes to address this.

“Art Appreciation.” “Music Appreciation.”

These seem to be largely restricted to the fine arts. I personally have never taken one of these kinds of classes, but the idea seems to be that it may not be reasonable to expect everyone to be able to cast a bronze or play an instrument. So you try to provide people with the knowledge of what it takes to do those things, and some of the underlying principles that unravel some of the aesthetic qualities.

Why are there no “Science Appreciation” classes?

They could be classes that would talk about the beauty of research, and that would unravel what separates studies that professional scientists would call “elegant” from those that they call “adequate.” It might be nice to have something that at least acknowledges that there’s an entry barrier to understanding science.

Like the arts, science should be approachable by everyone.

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