What has art ever done for science?

Art and Science – a two way street in my book!

Wellcome Trust Blog

B0003258 Brain in the form of 1960s pop art - green“Art has contributed zero to science, historically,” said developmental biologist Lewis Wolpert on Radio 4 some time ago.

This sounds like a sweeping generalisation – particularly considering he was in discussion with neuroscientist Mark Lythgoe, who has done more than his fair share of collaborating with artists – but is it fair? The influence of science on art is easy to see – just look at the paintings of da Vinci or Rembrandt to see how far back this influence stretches – but what does art offer science?

The Wellcome Trust has been funding collaborations between artists and scientists for over fifteen years. So it would seem sensible that we should ask what scientists have gained from working with artists.

Measuring scientific outcomes from artist-scientist collaborations is not straightforward: progress in science is judged by peer-reviewed publications, and joint scientist-artist publications are rare. But does this mean collaborations are…

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Your Writer’s Mind

I love this mind map!

Live to Write - Write to Live

writer mind

dummy soundcloud writers mind

Writers are like aliens. We explore and dissect, question and document. We study the ways of the human heart and soul with a probing and unflinching eye. The writer’s mind is a many-faceted marvel that defies logic in order to create magic, all within the constraints of twenty-six letters and a few punctuation marks.

The writer’s mind is prone to wandering. Writers do not live life the same way non-writers do. We are more of the world and yet always slightly apart from it. We exist simultaneously in multiple worlds – the “Real World,” the world as we see it, and worlds of our own devising. It’s no wonder then, what with our minds being in two or more places at once, that we sometimes appear distracted or a bit dotty.

The writer’s mind is full of wonder. We are endlessly curious about everything and everyone. We are avid people…

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He Blew Me a Kiss

Parkinson's image


He Blew Me a Kiss

She liked Frank, they connected

despite his expressionless face. Behind the wound-up limbs and tremor

a gentle man shone out from the mask.


When she visited they would share a cuppa.

Chat about this and that. Do the ‘medication shuffle’;

a two-step dance they both knew well.


She’d heard about stem cell research.

How they’d taken swabs from patients’ skin. Growing stem cells

from skin cells in dishes, right there in the lab up the road.


These stem cells would then become brain cells.

Models of Parkinson’s just like Frank’s. For testing newer and better

medications and perhaps one day even a cure.


The last time she saw Frank it was snowing

but he insisted on accompanying her out. Standing by the gate like a sentinel

he’d wave her off that one last time.


Later she’d think of stem cells like kisses

blown on the winter air. A hand lifted slowly towards a frozen face.

The moment captured in her rear-view mirror.



I won the EuroStemCell creative non-fiction poetry competition which I’m really chuffed about.


Here’s the link to their site, come along to the event on 23rd October In Edinburgh if you can, tickets going on sale soon I think.