Poetic Science: creativity informing science and vice versa

“Science is poetry,” declares Abby Sciuto on NCIS “Cracked” (season 8, episode 6).  She is not the only one to think so. On Tuesday, Feb 5th at the 57th Annual Biophysical Society Meeting, Sherry Ann Brown, M.D., Ph.D. presents “Poetic Science: Enriching the biophysics and systems biology experience.” Her poster will be part of the meetings educational poster session. This relatively young forum draws submissions of innovative practices for teaching biophysics and related scientific topics (mathematics, physical chemistry, systems biology and computer modeling).

Dr. Sherry Ann Brown is a physicist become computational biologist now physician. She has a passion for science and humanity. Important to her is her faith. This combination has been her fuel for poetry and in turn poetry fuel for her work.

“Expression of science in the form of poetry nurtures a creative environment for research.”(Brown, 2013) Through poetry and science she gives expression to the wonder of the world, to the intricacies that can be both described and not understood.

As scientists, we choose to develop systems that allow us to make functional descriptions of the world. Mathematics, science and poetry are constructs and construction materials for creating our understandings of the world.  We choose methods by which to discover consistency in a context that has many inconsistencies. One of our challenges is expressing the uncertainty, the wonder, and our humanity in the context of our work. Poetic science is one of the performative ways scientists are giving voice to our humanity and creativity, both required for being a practicing scientist.