Why Science Needs Artists and Animators
It’s evident that animation is often used to delight people, but it’s also an instrumental tool that can be used to help teach difficult scientific and mathematical concepts. Lets face it, many of us who go on to become professional animators did it to avoid dealing with hard sciences and math, subjects that seem rather unrelated to our passions. However, science, especially when popularized, benefits tremendously from the efforts of artists and animators.
Think of any science textbook you’ve ever seen. Oftentimes, they feature images of complex scientific concepts that would be difficult to visualize without their aid. Even when looking through a powerful microscope, it’s rather difficult to see the double helix shape of DNA. Learning that it’s comprised of a long chain of nucleic acids and proteins, held together by base pairs, which are in turn held together by hydrogen bonds does little to demystify what it actually looks like. This is where the arena of science benefits most from the conceptualization skills native to artists. Now, accurate representations of what a DNA double helix looks like are ready available, helping make the building blocks of life at least a little bit more comprehensible.
The same case can be made for the role animation plays in making complicated scientific concepts consumable for the general population. In TV nature specials and documentaries about scientific subjects that are difficult to visualize, such as astronomy, animation can be invaluable. The filmmakers, for example, could have the narrator explain the relationship of the Doppler Effect to light, but many people will find it difficult to visualize the resulting red and blue shifts. However, adding an animation for the audience to look at during the explanation can make a world of difference.
All in all, the skills of artists and animators are valuable to improving the general understanding of difficult scientific concepts.