I know, I know. Science can be scary. And stuffy. And impossible to understand. In fact, some people are so turned off by science that they ignore it altogether, regarding it as that biology class they barely passed in high school. But as a scientist myself (and all bias aside), I couldn’t disagree more. Science is and should be human, vital, and accessible—not elitist, trivial, and unapproachable. Science is the medication you took this morning with your breakfast. It’s the way you heal from that annoying paper cut. It’s why we go from a single-celled entity to a lumbering body made up of trillions of cells, each enabling us to think, breathe, walk, and dream. It’s the remedy to our most devastating diseases. It’s our future.
Ironically, however, the future of science is not in the hands of scientists: It’s in your hands. You elect representatives who green-light funding for new research. You protest for rights on reproductive health. You voice your opinions about the morality of stem cell research. You decry when a cure hasn’t been found. You celebrate when a controversial treatment works. In essence, you control the ebb and flow of scientific research. Scientists just follow your lead.
So how do we break down the walls people put up around science? How do we make science more understandable, more approachable, more likeable? To do this, I believe you need to start from a point innate to the human experience. For me, that point is art. Art captivates us. It brings us inward. It makes us think, feel, consider, and imagine. To dissolve the misconceived barriers around science, I see art as the stepping stone. That is why I created Biocanvas.
Biocanvas curates images created during scientific research that also double as art. Much like Starry Night captures your attention and elicits emotion, so too do science-as-art images. They are dazzlingly colorful and intricately patterned works found in the world around and within us. And behind each image is a science story: an interesting fact, an amazing discovery, a promise for the future. Biocanvas seeks to use “art” as a springboard to get people back into conversation with science. It seems ambitious, but Biocanvas is a promising start to igniting interest and understanding in science across all audiences.
How will science change you?
Michael is a Ph.D. student at the New York University School of Medicine studying stem cell biology. He studies the genes and molecules that control how stem cells compete for restricted access to a “niche,” a headquarters for stem cells in the body. Michael graduated from the University of Georgia with a BS in cellular biology and a certificate in writing. During his undergraduate career, he has conducted research on brain development, basic stem cell behavior, and induced pluripotent stem cells, the latter for which he was awarded the Goldwater Scholarship. In his spare time, Michael likes to cook, write, play piano, and binge on episodes of Downton Abbey and Breaking Bad.Comments powered by Disqus