Q What, if anything, do chemistry and the arts have in common?
A Chemistry and the arts have enormous similarities. Many non-scientists think the path to scientific discovery is through strategically planned and time-lined research. But history teaches us that most major chemical discoveries result from serendipity and a prepared mind. Thus, most of the chemical discovery process has art-like characteristics. Only at the final stage, in which the new discovery is connected to previously discovered scientific knowledge, are non-art-like strategic processes involved.
Bill Price, college of health and science, University of Western Sydney, Australia
A What chemistry and other sciences have in common with the arts is the intellectual satisfaction they all provide. Otherwise, and I fear this will contradict the views of many great chemists, I think they are poles apart. In my understanding, the essence of art is its unlimited creative freedom, and I have only ever met one chemist who understood his subject in this way. He was a very bad chemist. Science is bound by the restrictions nature imposes; art, at its best, is not.
Mathias Brust, department of chemistry, University of Liverpool, UK
A The challenge for a chemist and an artist is the same: to realise our ideas. Our passion is the manifestation of these concepts, images or objects. To prove that the beauty you can imagine shines brilliantly upon creation.
Nick Gathergood, school of chemical sciences, Dublin City University, Ireland