Research Article:
Interdisciplinary Art Experiences:
The Artist as Observational Scientist

During JASON VII: Adapting to a Changing Sea you will examine the scientific investigations of this year's Research Team as they work in the Everglades, the Straits of Florida, and Florida Bay.

Scientists and Researchers use precise measurements to record change. One way they try to be precise is by using mathematics. Mathematics is a common language used by scientists all over the world to share their work with each other.

Robert Ballard uses sonar images to measure the thickness of sedimentary structures on the seafloor. Jerry Wellington records climate change by measuring the amount of carbon molecules in the exoskeleton of coral heads. Dana Yoerger, Jon Howland, and Cdr. Olivier use math to produce digital images to navigate and write computer programs to operate robots.

Laura Brandt and Frank Mazzotti measure the length of crocodiles and the distances that they travel. John Hunt measures and contrasts the amount of salt in water. Jim Bohnsack records the number and kinds of fish he finds at a reef. Bob Hueter needs math to determine the exact location in latitude and longitude positions for sharks. Chris Borne determines the oxygen level and temperature inside the underwater habitat AQUARIUS.

Artists also record observations of their environment to show others how they see it. Math is not the only way people communicate their observations of the world. Another way is through the languages of the arts, through which artists communicate their perceptions of the world. Artists in different fields may use images, color, shape, texture, design, sound, words, and other tools to communicate, in much the same way that scientists use the language of mathematics.

You and your classmates can make observations about your world through the fine arts.


Rainbow Line

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Gene Carl Feldman ( (301) 286-9428
Todd Carlo Viola, JASON Foundation for Education (
Revised: 30 Oct 1995