The Scientist As An Artist by George Russell Harrison

The Scientist As An Artist
by George Russell Harrison

George Russell Harrison (1898-1979) was an eminent American scientist who won many medals, awards and honorary degrees for his outstanding work in the branch of physics called spectroscopy. He joined MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) as a Professor of Physics" in 1930. in 1942, he became Dean of School of Science here. He worked in this capacity till his retirement in 1964. Since then till his death, he remained associated with MIT as Professor of Physics Emeritus and Dean Emeritus of School of Science.
George Russell Harrison was famous for his devotion to work. 'During his period MIT rose to an eminent position among the world's topmost academic institutions. His ' vigour and sense of purpose earned him a lot of admiration and respect. His honesty. fairness and exceptional zeal were the hallmark of his career.
He was the author and co-author of more than one hundred research papers which are still a source of enlightenment throughout the world. At the same time, he wrotebooks for the common man introducing to him the subjects of science and engineering. The present essay ”The Scientist as an Artist" is one of such writings. it was published in the ”Technological Review" of MlT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
Science are arts are generally regarded contradictory spheres of activity but ‘ Harrison says that they are two different angles of looking at the realities of life. Both the  scientist and the artist has the same aim which is to provide satisfaction and comfort to " man. The scientist is an artist because his powerful imagination is at work while exploring concrete facts.
Harrison is of the opinion that the scientist looks for proportion in the world of it nature and expects to locate the guiding principles behind certin phenomena. in this way he succeeds in finding various laws and establishing different theories. His better understanding of the rules of nature is the direct outcome of his artistic instinct.
The work of the true scientist is primarily directed by'aesthetic vaiues. Every sciean hypothesis or discovery is a work of art. Einstein claimed that the guiding force behind his work was the need for symmetry and order. No doubt. science and art are ditferent at certain points, but they have one thing in common that they share the basic element of beauty. This aestheticism is the soul of all human activities.
Harrison declares that every scientific hypothesis or discovery is a work of art. The work of a true scientist is basically directed by his search for beauty. The same principle directs the work of an artist
A scientist finds some problem somewhere. He thinks over it and formulates a hypothesis. This hypothesrs is, in fact, his search for a missing link in the pattern of nature. His creative imagination inspires him in the same way as it inspires an artist. By using this major tool. he cames out his experiments and observes facts.
What are the differences between a scientist and an artist?
GR. Harrison has presented very interesting arguments. He has very convincingly proved that both the scientist and the artist follow the same mode of working. Both of them are in search of symmetry. These similarities are, no doubt remarkable. But they have their differences as well. Since their fields of activrty are different. these differences are quite natural.
The basic difference between the scientist and the artist is of the approach. The scientist is objective in his approach and is concerned with the outer, world. The artist. on the other hand. has a subjective approach and mainly satisfies his inner self.
The scientist follows reason in his work, while the artist is motivated by his passion. This is why the artist's work has an emotional touch.
These differences are as clearly visible as are the similarities. This study of similarities and differences is quite interesting.
'In science as in art the old is supplemented by the new rather than supplanted by it.’ Comment on the remark made by GR. Harrison.
The study of the development of human beings is very interesting. Each generation of the animals other than man starts its progress from the zero point. Man is the only animal who inherits the experiences of his past generations.
The artist and the screntist carry on the traditions set by their seniors. Sometimes it looks that they are discarding old things. But it is not so. Newton's discoveries were the continuation of the process of research started by the previous generations. These discoveries. in return. provide the stage for Einstein to discover new truths.
As we see different stages of development in art. the same is the case with scrence. Every new generation of scientists carries on the task performed by older generations. in this way. We see the full justification pf the comment made by GR. Harrison.

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