Introducing Katharine Hubert

A world without imagination is a world which will cease to exist. I have always believed that the creative act of imagining is not just tied to artistic processes; imagination is also fundamental for the advancement of science.  As a biology/music double major, I was often asked, “Why would you major in two completely unrelated things?” to which I would reply, “Both science and music are my passions. Why do I have to choose?”.

I have been a percussionist since 4th grade and discovered a passion for music composition as a freshman in high school. A 7th grade science fair project on the inheritance of fingerprint patterns fueled my interest in DNA and human genetics. Since high school, I have been determined to incorporate both music and science into my life, and as I have grown older and gained experience, I realize that the creation of music and the pursuit of science are not that different.

Both music composition and scientific research start with an idea, an imaginative thought, a “what if”. Next, composers choose instrumentation to deliver their musical message, and, likewise, researchers select tools to probe their question of interest.  Composition uses sound to explore and develop a musical melody, the creation of which defines a musical story and contributes to our existing repertoire. Research uses data to drive a scientific question, a collection of which leads to a scientific story. In essence, both processes start with an imaginative idea that ultimately leads to the creation of a story.

Composers and scientists are story tellers. Science and art are not exclusive. Art is science and science is art. Both entities are creative acts that require precision, imagination, accuracy, courage, expertise, passion, innovation, and motivation.

As a multifaceted storyteller, my motivation for sharing my stories in an accessible way drives my passion for my work as Kohler Fellow. I am eager to use both my musical and scientific knowledge, tools, and experience to share my research with the broader community. I hope that my work as a fellow will engage others and inspire them to share their own stories. You never know where inspiration, be it scientific or musical, may come from.  But one thing is for certain- if you do not dare to imagine, what could be will never become.