I happen to be typing this article on a Mac, so Steve Jobs is fittingly going to be my first example. I grew up in an exciting time in human history - The Dawn of the Modern Computer Age! My elementary school had a computer lab equipped with Apple computers and every student played Oregon Trail as part of their curriculum. We shot buffalo, wrote inappropriate epitaphs, and prayed that our party members wouldn’t die of something as embarrassing as dysentery. I also remember when PCs took over and Apple nearly ceased to exist, despite its superior technology. We all thought Apple was dead and gone. They needed a miracle, and they got one – Steve Jobs.
Jobs realized the important of aesthetics in selling technology to customers. He hired an industrial designer named Jonathan Ive who designed the iconic iMac. Apple took a dull beige box and made it, for lack of a better term, really damn sexy. Sales soared!
Apple was saved! If Jobs hadn’t made a decision to blend art and technology together to produce futuristic looking, scientifically advanced products, we would have never had the iMac, iPod, iPad, or iPhone. To Millennials, the world without Smartphones probably sounds like a world without sunshine!
Speaking of phones, let’s go back in time a bit further to Alexander Graham Bell (In our minds that is, as I haven’t quite perfected my time machine yet. Still need that darn Flux Capacitor!). Bell was a pianist, and one day he noticed that a chord struck on his piano was echoed by a piano in another room. Being a sharp guy, this led him to realize that chords were transmitted through the air and vibrated at exactly the same pitch as they moved. Bell’s art led him to understand the natural world better and this realization eventually led him to conceptualize & invent the telephone.
Going even further back in time, once Europe made it out of the Dark Ages (named so because there were so many knights), the Renaissance era was born. During this time, the sciences and the arts were studied collaboratively. Leonardo Da Vinci changed the world with his voracious curiosity and became one of the best painters and inventors of all time. He once said, “Principles for the Development of a Complete Mind: Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses - especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.” Da Vinci understood that science and innovation needed art to visualize concepts. It is only in modern times that the fields have become so mutually exclusive.
The Director of Research & Development at Motorola credited the communicator used in the original “Star Trek” series as the inspiration for the design of the mobile phone. The technological design of medical stents, air bags, and space telescope lenses were all based on the fundamentals of origami. The design of the submarine was inspired by “Twenty
Leagues Under the Sea”. The list of the Arts leading to innovation and innovation leading to arts goes on and on and makes it clear that we need creativity in order to innovate.
Art is the manifestation of the human experience in a completely unrestrained way. An education in the Arts teaches children creative expression and this is something the scientific world is still somewhat lacking. Sadly, many Americans still lack even a basic understanding of science. In a world where we are experiencing a national health crisis due to the public following the scientific advice of Jenny McCarthy, the need for the public to understand Science is crucial.
Let’s face it; scientists have their own language. People who don’t know the language end up shutting it out, and understandably so. If you picked up a German newspaper and you didn’t speak German, you would probably set it back down pretty quickly. To be successful, we desperately need people who can find ways to make science sexy! There is no scientific idea that is impossible to explain to someone else. Einstein famously said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” We need the next generation of scientists and engineers to have a firm grasp of creative expression if we want to foster innovation in the US!
We at Svaha think a dose of STEM blended with a touch of imagination, design, & creativity is the perfect recipe to encourage the next generation of innovators! We have decided to focus our children’s apparel line to encourage STEAM and inspire imaginations! Since our mission at Svaha is to empower kids & start a revolution – one t-shirt at a time, we have decided to get STEAMed up and we hope you’ll go full STEAM ahead with us!
Tell us what you think. Should Art be included in STEM, or do you think we should we blow off STEAM? We want to hear from you!
Okay, I’ll stop with the puns now! I don’t want to get arrested for a pun-ishable offense!
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