In his editor’s introduction of the March 2015 issue of Canada’s The Walrus magazine, John MacFarlane bids readers farewell and introduces the publication’s new editor, Jonathan Kay.
MacFarlane tells readers they may be surprised to learn Kay didn’t receive an arts education, as they might expect, but that his undergraduate and master’s degrees were in metallurgical engineering. “I’ll go out on a limb,” he writes, “and say that he is the first graduate engineer ever to edit a Canadian general-interest magazine.”
Why does MacFarlane find this noteworthy? Because he’s aware of our culture’s belief that the drama-society flakes and physics-club geeks don’t mix. For a long time, we have accepted you are either destined for a career in the arts or in science. But to immerse ourselves in both? Never. It’s curious we have viewed these disciplines as distinctly separate for so long, especially since the Renaissance period understood the arts and science to be inextricable, and intellectual life flourished profoundly back then as a result. Thankfully, a resurgence in those ideals has been on the upswing, as various North American schools advocate teaching both areas in tandem.
Some are using dance to teach math, and others combine poetry and science concepts. A big proponent of merging these fields is American Mae Jemison, the first female African-American astronaut to travel in space. Also a dancer and doctor, Jemison observes in her 2009 TED talk that both fields “are manifestations of the same thing. The arts and sciences are avatars of human creativity.”
You might think Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine is decidedly rooted in the arts, thanks to the talented photographers, designers, illustrators, editors and writers who regularly contribute to our pages. But we would not exist without science. Innovative gear ushers us deep into the outdoors. To produce this magazine we use printing presses, cameras, computer technology, chemical process and transportation. Really, our publication is a balanced merging of both realms, and in this Science Issue we zero in on what it’s all about: our fascinating natural state of creativity, curiosity and ingenuity.
—Tara Cunningham, senior editor