Marrying Art With Science

Norberto Garcia-Cairasco, PhD

I am a Biologist and a Neuroscientist working with Normal Brain Activity and the Behavioral and Molecular Mechanisms of Neural Disorders such as Epilepsy, Parkinsonism and Obsessive-Compulsive Syndromes (1).

Thus, I feel a great need for the conjunction of my scientific interests with artistic activities I have fun with. I am a nature lover, then I feel I can photograph (I have a nice collection of our -I and my wife Cássia Maria-) marvelous cats (Mamma Lola, Margoth Phoenix and sons; soon also in the Internet!) or paint or draw nature motives (or imagination themes) and consequently I feel I can use them in my own lectures during my trips to Scientific Meetings, in my teaching at the Medical School or at the Biology or Psychology Schools at the University of São Paulo, here in Ribeirão Preto. With the recent advances in computer graphics, I have been using Programs such as Fractal Design (Metacreations) Painter, Poser, Expression, Ray Dream Studio, Detailer, Dabbler.

I think they are great because they allow you to combine colours in a natural form, as if you are using palettes, watercolors, oil, charcoal, etc. I started using mouse for some of the drawings I am presenting here, some of them with Microsoft Paint Brush and later Aldus Photostyler. The following step was to use the more dedicated programs (Fractal Design Collection). Additionally, most recently I purchased an ArtZ Wacom digitizing Tablet which is great, because it is pressure sensitive and has erasing capabilities.

For interested people, Diskover, among others, is a great place to buy graphics and artistic programs and hardware, with excellent prices because you can ask for discounts as an Educational Institution User (ID necessary) (2).

There is no reason why we should not explore our artistic interest with these currently available tools and I am pretty sure, in my case, they have enhanced my perspectives in terms of teaching at the same time I am having fun and developing non-academic and extremely relaxing activities such as drawing.

I have a couple of subscriptions to specialized magazines such as American Artist, Electronic Publishing ( and its associated Computer Artist. Since I am a registered Metacreation's User I am receiving Artistry a magazine with tips on Programs such as Painter, Ray Dream, etc. All of them are great and represent actual possibilities of fusion of natural media with computer tools.

Obvious links to scientific activities are made through Labs. in the world such as Visualization Lab. (3) which works in 3D reconstruction, rendering, etc. Putting together images and texts (syllabus, Courses informations), available worldwide in the Web or over the Internet you can also develop slide shows using Microsoft Power Point, etc. The possibilities are endless and as I am telling here only limited by your imagination. Being Nature, Brain and Behavior the main themes of my interest, I think, working with them with harmonic academic and artistic variables, will motivate more philosophical questions about our current explanations on minds and brains.

Norberto Garcia-Cairasco

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