Creating a third culture : how to bring C.P. Snow into the 21st century and find a place for the two cultures of science and art to meet
Reed, Mackenzie Rachael.
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In 1959, C.P Snow wrote an essay entitled 'The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution' in which he split the intellectual world into two cultures. The first culture is scientific culture; the second culture, on the other hand, includes literary intellectuals and artists. Snow claimed that these two cultures spoke so disparate a language that communication between the two was virtually non-existent. He believed that the self-imposed barriers between science and art played a major role in society's inability to solve the world's problems. As a result, Snow anticipated the need for a 'third culture' created by curious non-scientists that would narrow this cultural divide. I propose that this third culture can be found in a medium that clearly intersects both art and science--and that medium is film. Film looks towards a variety of disciplines for inspiration and ideas and builds upon various fields in order to communicate a message. This multidisciplinary approach is the key uniting the two seemingly incongruous cultures. More specifically, the specific film medium through which the two cultures can best come together is the genre I have dubbed the "personal science film." This genre is a hybrid of the personal essay and the science documentary. This thesis will defend Snow's demand for both a scientifically and artistically literate public, analyze the historical events in which science and art have come together, and ultimately present a way in which Snow's formerly competing cultures can coexist and find common ground. I will discuss the basics of a personal science film, highlighting the many techniques required to reach a broader audience. I will demonstrate how the personal science film can bridge the gap between the artistic and scientific worlds, forming a 'third culture', and thus narrowing the "cultural divide".