values in science

 

Science and art go hand in hand in shaping the way we think about the world, and our place in it. Science is a way of systematically exploring the world around us and discovering the hidden truths of the Universe. Art on the other hand is systematically challenging the status quo and making us reflect on the deeper meaning that scientific discoveries entail.

RESPECT FOR TRUTH

This is the title of the first oevre of  this series.

Morality is one area that does not escape this close relationship between art and science, our views on morality are vastly influenced by our increasing understanding of nature, advanced by science, and the debate created on how we relate to that new information, fostered by art. We could say that art and science are the two mechanisms by which new values are presented to society.

Even though neither science nor art are belief systems, both have common values that make them work:

- Respect for truth

- Disregard for authority

- Intellectual honesty

- Elegance and beauty

- Search for reality

- Scheptisism

- Free enquiry

- Experimenting

My artistic goal is to bring to life in a unique, meaningful and hopefully beautiful manner, the way in which both the work of the scientist and the artist propose values to us.

 

 

intellectual honesty

The first part of this project is going to shed some light on the rigorousness with which science approaches the truth. As a metaphor I have chosen the story of one of Math's oldest problems: The Goldbach conjecture.

The Goldbach conjecture: WikipedJune 1742, the German mathematician Christian Goldbach wrote a letter to Leonhard Euler (letter XLIII)in which he proposed the following conjecture:

Every integer which can be written as the sum of two primes, can also be written as the sum of as many primes as one wishes, until all terms are units.

He then proposed a second conjecture in the margin of his letter:

Every integer greater than 2 can be written as the sum of three primes.

He considered 1 to be a prime number, a convention subsequently abandoned.The two conjectures are now known to be equivalent, but this did not seem to be an issue at the time. A modern version of Goldbach's marginal conjecture is:

Every integer greater than 5 can be written as the sum of three primes.

Euler replied in a letter dated 30 June 1742, and reminded Goldbach of an earlier conversation they had ("…so Ew vormals mit mir communicirt haben…"), in which Goldbach remarked his original (and not marginal) conjecture followed from the following statement

Every even integer greater than 2 can be written as the sum of two primes,

which is, thus, also a conjecture of Goldbach. In the letter dated 30 June 1742, Euler stated:

"THAT EVERY EVEN INTEGER IS A SUM OF TWO PRIMES, REGARDS AS A COMPLETELY CERTAIN THEOREM, ALTHOUGH I CANNOT PROVE IT¨

This statement alone and the fact that despite having corroborated that for number as high as 4x10*18 this property holds truth, mathematicians do not dare call it a theorem (equivalent of truth) but rather a conjecture:

Conjecture: ¨an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information¨

With this art piece my job is to challenge you to think how many of your core beliefs and "facts" are based on much less evidence than the one you are looking at and make you think about wether you are reaching the right conclusions.