The world is changing rapidly

and the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are a priority for modern educators because modern students need to understand how to engage and develop emergent ideas and technologies. But innovation requires broad thinking, imagination outside the confines of education and experience, and collaboration; and in this regard, STEM students, researchers, and educators have much to gain from the Arts. Here, I share resources related to the STEAM initiative, which brings "Art" back into STEM - including papers, links, and an ever-increasing reading list for scientists.


Why Art Matters

"How many engineers do you really need?" - Why This Tech CEO Keeps Hiring Humanities Majors, by Michael Litt (Fast Company, 2017)

"Writing in a more narrative style increases the uptake and influence of articles" - Narrative Style Influences Citation Frequency in Climate Change Science, by Ann Hillier, Ryan P. Kelly, & Terrie Klinger (PLOS One, 2016)

“We found a strong causal relationship between arts-based learning and improved creativity skills and innovation outcomes in adolescents, and between arts-based learning and increased collaborative behavior in adults.” - Arts Based Learning of STEM Works Says NSF Funded Research Firm, by John M. Eger (HuffPost, 2015)

"Narratives offer increased comprehension, interest, and engagement." - Using Narratives and Storytelling to Communicate Science with Nonexpert Audiences, by Michael F. Dahlstrom (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014)

Art as Therapy, by Alain de Botton (Phaidon, 2013)

STEAM Resources

“By creating narratives of science in personal or fictional stories, scientists can engage diverse audiences, and do so more persuasively; stories generate empathy in audiences that can translate into short- or long-term changes in behaviour, so stories about science and scientists can be an important tool for communicating science in the world. Scientists of all career stages should learn to tell their own stories, and tell them in diverse forms.” - Creating Stories from Science - by Amanda Niehaus (IJ-ISME, 2019)

NOTE: In fact, the whole edition of IJ-ISME (International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education) - Part 1 and Part 2 is fabulous. Edited by Rosanne Quinnell, Margaret Wegener, Rebecca LeBard, and Stephanie Beames.

"The most exciting things happen at the fringe, the overlap, the moment we look at the same question through a different lens altogether." - Write Fiction to Discover Something New in Your Research, by Amanda Niehaus (Nature, 2018) 

"Papers and patents that combine diverse ideas tend to rank as high-impact." - Why Hiring the "Best" People Produces the Least Creative Results, by Scott E Page (Aeon, 2018)

"Good [science] writing needs to be valued by the reader, the editor, the educator, and, most importantly, the writer" - Publishing with Objective Charisma: Breaking Science’s Paradox, by Zoë A. Doubleday & Sean D. Connell (Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 2017)

"Balancing technical expertise with artistic vision" - There is an Art to Teaching Science in the 21st Century, by October Smith (Emerging Technologies for STEAM Education, 2015)

"STEM can benefit the arts, and the arts can benefit STEM, if we allow them to retain their own core qualities, and not pretend that we can entirely merge these two different approaches to the universe." - Reflections on Communicating Science through Art, by Alan Friedman (Curator, 2013)

"There's more to creativity than problem solving" - The Art of Science Learning

Science in Literature

Short stories

Axolotyl, by Julius Cortazar 

Story of Your Life, by Ted Chiang


Wit, by Margaret Edson (Faber & Faber, 1999)


The Blue Booby, by James Tate


Body of Art (Phaidon, 2015)

Einstein's Dreams, by Alan Lightman (Vintage, 2004)

Houston, We Have a Narrative, by Randy Olson (U Chicago Press, 2015)

Literature and Science in the Nineteenth Century: An Anthology, edited by Laura Otis (Oxford University Press, 2002 )

On Writing, by Stephen King (Scribner, 2000)

Rethinking Thought, by Laura Otis (Oxford U Press, 2015)

Wired for Story, by Lisa Kron (Ten Speed Press, 2012)

First sentences do a special kind of work. They establish a contract with the reader about what is to come …They seem to set the direction for every other sentence. The first words are also, in this sense, the last words.” - The contract of first sentences, by Camilla Nelson (The Conversation)

Writing Better Science