Second Paper Prompt


Yo-Yo Ma’s “Necessary Edges: Arts, Empathy, and Education”

Jonah Lehrer’s “The Future of Science…Is Art?”

Mark B. Boslough’s “We Must Protect U.S. Investment in Scientific Knowledge”

Yo-Yo Ma’s essay, “Necessary Edges: Arts, Empathy, and Education,” argues that education needs to shift its emphasis from STEM to STEAM. He uses ecological metaphors to explain the importance of establishing equilibrium between the humanities and sciences and calls for a “new consciousness,” one that integrates the critical with the empathetic, the emotional with reason. In “The Future of Science … Is Art?” Jonah Lehrer takes things one-step further when he writes, “Science needs the arts. We need to find a place for the artist within the experimental process…” (The stress is his). Finally, Mark B. Boslough argues for the importance of protecting the scientific method from both the left and the right in, “We Must Protect U.S. Investment in Scientific Knowledge.” He describes a scientific world under assault, a world that is worthy of investment yet lacking sufficient protection from harmful outside influence.

Consider your projected career path and write a 1,400 – 1,800 word essay (around 6 pages) arguing your opinion for what the ideal relationship between art and science should look like. Focus your opinion on the relationship you feel that your discipline of interest should maintain with the arts. Strive to be as specific as possible.


Consider the following while you write: Do you feel there are limits to Ma’s integrated approach? Do you feel that there is a potential danger in mixing artistic insight with hard science? Do you feel that the arts threaten the scientific process? For example, maybe you believe that art for art’s sake is important or that science can work without the humanist or societal perspective. On the other hand, maybe you see the benefit of giving the arts a seat at the scientific table. Maybe you agree with Lehrer when he states that “[a]rt can make science better.” If so, how can art benefit your studies at UNE or your future career?


Remember: This is your argument, your voice in the conversation. Use Ma, Lehrer, and Boslough to serve your vision. Each summary, paraphrase, and quote should either advance, support, or complicate your own argument or claim.


Tips! 1) Work to develop your own angle. Please do not feel that you must respond to every question above. Stake out a position inside the prompt’s parameters and go for it! 2) Yo-Yo Ma and Jonah Lehrer do not argue the same thing. Their visions for the future of the arts and sciences are distinct. Please make sure to maintain a clear boundary between their voices, and do not allow their opinions to merge. 3) You are welcome to compare and contrast all three arguments, but do not allow this comparing and contrasting to overtake your essay. Remember, this essay should ultimately center on your opinion–how you feel about the sciences comingling with the arts inside your projected career path. Should this comingling happen? If so, where, when, and to what end?