What a wonderful can of worms to have opened! I went looking for a few great minds who managed to juggle both arts and sciences, and I found an entire society of them. These illustrious men and women come from all over the globe, and from throughout history. Putting these lists together has been so much fun that I thought I’d do just one more. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Hypatia of Alexandria (370-415)
Raised in an era when women simply didn’t do arts or science, she managed to invent the astrolabe, secure a gig as a philosophy professor, and become head of the legendary Library of Alexandria.
2. M.C. Escher (1898-1972)
You’d be hard-pressed to find very many math geeks who don’t have some of his work in their collections. Escher’s mathematically-themed work is a treat for both sides of the brain.
3. Pythagoras (570-495 BC)
You’ve heard of his theorem (triangles anyone?), but did you also know that he and his followers had extensive theories about musical composition?
4. Enheduanna (2285-2250 BC)
One of the earliest authors or poets on record, she was also an astronomer.
5. Al-Jazari (1136-1206)
An artist, inventor, engineer and mathematician, this gifted individual shared his love of mechanical devices through an instructional book.
6. Akbar the Great (1542-1605)
When he wasn’t busy ruling the Mughal Empire, Akbar immersed himself in everything from blacksmithing to engineering to lacemaking.
7. René Descartes (1596-1650)
This father of western philosophy was also a noted writer, mathematician and biologist.
8. Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)
This medical missionary was also an accomplished musician and philosopher...oh yeah, he also won a Nobel Prize.
9. Daniel Tammet (1979-present)
A noted savant, Daniel can recite Pi to 22,514 digits, speaks a number of languages, and is also a celebrated author.
10. Marie-Anne Pierrette Paulze (1758-1836)
Her knowledge of chemistry was complimented by her facility with languages, and her talent as an illustrator.
Did I miss anyone? Do you have a favourite who hasn’t been included in one of our lists? Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I’ll start keeping track of readers’ favourites for a future post!
Amy Leask is VP of Enable Education. She dreams of a world in which everyone uses both sides of their brain.