Shall we bring science to the humanities?

In reaction to a speech by Google CEO Eric Schmidt, calling upon Britons to combine science with their art and humanities, the Guardian commissioned an essay by Timothy Stanley: “Science must embrace the humanities to regain its Victorian glory”. He gives a raft of reasons why the naive blend of science and art of the Victorian era isn’t coming back anytime soon.

Whereas the Victorians strove outwards into the realms of nature and the supernatural, modern research has turned inwards to the atom and the molecule. Schmidt might not believe it, but computer programming is not nearly as interesting as fairy hunting.

He leaves without suggesting a strategy for changing things in today’s world of science and technology. I think some small steps would be useful: for example, why not assign the science-informed essayists and novelists in secondary humanities curricula?