The Intersection of Art and Science

Someone at work commented that, one night, she got into a long rambling discussion about the intersection between art and science. I said that art and science don't intersect, and she said she disagreed.

It's possible that there is a disagreement over terminology. When one says that art and science "intersect" I have in my mind some kind of act that combines the two, i.e. discovering some objectively reproducible feature of the universe by painting a nice picture would count as an intersection between art and science because by doing one, you're doing the other.

In my mind, just using the results of one field in another doesn't count as an intersection. So a musician using an electronic keyboard doesn't count as an intersection between music and electrical engineering and a sculptor making something out of clothes doesn't count as an intersection between sculpture and textiles.

Of course, someone can be both and artist and scientist, but insofar as s/he is being one, I suspect s/he is not being the other. One could argue that Einstein was being an artist when he came up with relativity, because the entire theory was (so I understand) motivated by his sense of aesthetics. But when it came time to show its worth as a theory, one had to be scientist, and one had to use the theory to make predictions, and then test those predictions out. If the theory had failed here, no amount of elegance would have saved it.

(The scientific method is more or less agnostic on the issue of how one comes up with theories. They just have to be testable, which is why string theory is looked upon with a skeptical eye. So I've heard.)

That being said, I suppose that if a painter were, for example, to make his own paints, and was convinced that his specially designed method for making paint produced more vibrant colours than any other method, and there were an actual, objective way to measure the "vibrancy" of paint colours, and he tested out his paint by producing a series of pictures, each using a set of paints produced by tweaking his paint producing methods, then this might count as an intersection of science and art.