Conversations with Renaissance Students
by Ellisa Valo
Einstein played violin.
It's true. The brilliant thinker who gave us the quantum theory of light waves and the general theory of relativity did not spend every waking moment noodling on physics problems. He also played violin. He talked philosophy with friends. He read Dostoevsky, studied astronomy, and dabbled in poetry.
Einstein recognized that pursuing his widely varying interests not only satisfied his own curiosities and passions, but also made him a more creative thinker. "The greatest scientists are always artists, as well," he said. Biographical accounts suggest that he worked out many of his problems and equations by improvising on the violin. And he acknowledged the inspiration he found in literature when he said, "Dostoevsky gives me more than any scientist."
Einstein, the most modern of visionaries, was a Renaissance man. We know him mainly as one of the world's greatest scientists, but like Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Goethe before him, he was accomplished in many fields and eager to pursue his curiosity wherever it led him.
Some say that the current trend toward specialization in education and work has left no place for Renaissance men and women in today's world. To those, we extend an invitation to Lewis & Clark College, where the liberal arts tradition that encourages exploration and discovery is alive and well.
Einstein would probably like it here.
Meet five students who like it here too.
Isaac Holeman CAS '08,: researcher, singer, political activist, health care advocate
Tamma Carleton CAS '09: economist, mathematician, runner
Niccolo Jose CAS '09: theatre technician, sculptor, environmentalist
Jill DeCoursey B.A. '07: art historian, mathematician, environmentalist
Charlie Morgan CAS '08: biochemist, researcher, world traveler. athlete, musician
Freelance writer Ellisa Valo is always inspired by the students she meets at Lewis & Clark. Photographs by Robert Reynolds.
Back to Summer 2007 Chronicle