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Poetry & STEAM: Not a Bad Combo, After All?

Updated: Mar 13, 2022

By Raymond Chen

When thinking about STEM, us humanities majors may find poetry easily juxtaposed with it. STEM have been learned in many ways: puzzles, video games, and even Virtual Reality.

Now Poetry joins the show.

Consider this excerpt from a poem by Martin Perry

Dry nitrogen and hydrogen gas,
Over a finely divided iron catalyst are passed.
The gases in ratio one to three,
At a pressure of 300 and a temperature of 450 degrees C.

Anyone with a basic background of chemistry can understand this verse—maybe you and I? And how amazing it is to blend on

e subject with the other? We find that chemistry is chemistry and physics is physics: there is no intermixing between them—in other words, as I would define it, secular teaching—that trying to combine them becomes at once an oddity; however, through her poem, my readers may begin to understand that though chemistry is about quantitative and qualitative reasoning, the majestic web of poetry could cover it and give the hard, solidity of chemistry some beauty from without.

The technique of using poetry to fabricate beauty in STEM cannot be understated, but it is especially useful for two groups of people: children and poetry lovers. Being a poetry lover myself and at once a children, I can fully understand the grandiosity of this mesmerizing mixture. Therefore, it is reasonable to hope that schools would challenge us to be unconventionally taught ways of learning things, often interspersing fields such as the two here together. There are, of course, people who naturally love STEM, who would give their hearts to balance that equation, solve for the kinetic energy, or observe the operation of an electrolytic cell. But they just further my point of promoting poetry, which is understood in a twofold manner: poetry, as a magnet does, pulls us into the beauty of the STEM world—an appeal without—and poetry, with its words as delicate constellations, occupy our minds as people build their mental homes and gardens under the world of STEM—an appeal within. These two qualities are found in STEM-lovers (besides the money, of course!) and are the most important factors in order for a person to love STEM—in other words, succeed in STEM.

So how do we get started with this interdisciplinary and contrasting observation? There are many options. You can

1) If you're a professional or an aspiring student—create poetry of your own on STEM

2) Read the poem above!

3) Read more poems by finding them on the internet.

Of course, my readers are always welcome to contact me for new poetry regarding STEM, as I have done my research and can provide some poems from many people—including me.

I hope that through my sentiments I have convinced the reader of the beauty and importance of reading poetry coupled with STEM. This is the art of STEAM, and let us all explore and shatter the barrier of secular teaching.

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