What human qualities are needed to make scientific discoveries, and which to make great art? Many would point to ‘imagination’ and ‘creativity’ in the second case but not the first. Tom McLeish compares creativity in science and art, and challenges the assumption that science is in any sense less creative than art. He draws on historical and contemporary examples to provide a broader understanding, and brings medieval philosophy and theology to bear on current questions of creativity.
Finding that artists and scientists think imaginatively in visual, textual and abstract modes, he will focus on the last one, where music and mathematics make their mysteries, for this festival.
Tom McLeish FRS is a theoretical physicist whose work on soft matter is renowned. He is Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of York.