How can anyone presume to share a vision of how the world works with the public in written or dramatic form if they don’t least have some inkling as to current thinking about…well…how the world works? How evolution happened, where matter came from…that kind of thing.
I mean, a playwright may be nothing more than an actor with a pencil; but some notion of the meaning of action or what a pencil is made of is pretty handy.
Especially in Scotland – this is a country and a city where the study of the material world has never been thought of as grubby or tedious. Educationally and industrially as well as philosophically, this wet little corner of the Atlantic Isles is where a lot of the best and most important thinking on science has happened in the past and is happening right now. To all of our benefits: philosophical, medical and economical.
Hence, the writer’s residencies I’ve had over the last few years…studying the history of science, especially the life sciences with both the Genomics Forum at the University of Edinburgh and the national Library of Scotland have been good for my soul as well as my brain. I have written plays and poems on scientific themes, since, for the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow as well as the Traverse in Edinburgh.
But most importantly, I think, I am living proof that the good writing I’ve read on science and the good talks I’ve heard and exhibits I’ve seen and pictures I’ve looked at on the internet since leaving school mean that even a mathematical, Chemical and physical dunce like myself can be excited and inspired by ideas that in formal, educational terms are supposed to be beyond me.
Science isn’t beyond anyone. Science is for everyone, just like words and music and pictures. It’s inside us and all around us – it’s how things really are. We humans, genius types and seriously not, should all celebrate that alone of all the things science studies, it is only the thing that studies, the human brain, that has even got the beginnings of a clue what’s going on.
And, Glasgow, some really smart thinking about this stuff is going on right here.