Creative minestrone

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By chance, I just caught a half-hour programme on BBC Radio 4 this morning. Oscar winning film-maker Danny Boyle (of Slum Dog Millionaire fame) apparently sent an email to Professor Brian Cox, who has shot to fame through his natural and engaging enthusiasm for making science accessible. Boyle wanted Cox to act as scientific advisor on a Hollywood movie project. Cox thought it was a wind-up.

Turns out that this meeting of minds in the realms of art and science is becoming more common. Movie-makers want their films to be more plausible, so they invite in scientists to help them creatively solve plot problems, such as how you might teleport a person into a computer (and out again). Hot tip – mentioning ‘quantum’ as a prefix to anything makes it cool.

In that problem-solving process, artists and scientists suddenly forget that they come from very different backgrounds. They focus in on the problem and bring to it their different perspectives, total passion and whole-hearted commitment to their respective subjects to come up with the best solution.

Cox explains that he was first drawn to science through his awe of the world around him: “Doing science is an emotional reaction to nature.” Sometimes, caught up in the day to day minutiae of research, scientists can forget that’s why they wanted to do science in the first place. Film-makers likewise want to tap into and evoke that same emotional reaction and awe in their audiences. Now that the programme has pointed it out to me, why wouldn’t artists and scientists collaborate?

Getting together with people who are experts in their particular field and able to contribute an ingredient that you might never have come up with is a brilliant way to make creative minestrone.

You can hear the whole programme by following this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00tj5qk/Scientists_Go_To_Hollywood/

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