“Man is so made that, whenever anything fires his soul, impossibilities vanish.” - Jean de la Fontain.

In this article, I will argue that art should be part of the materials science and engineering curriculum. At first glance, the idea might seem nonsensical given the already crowded syllabus. It also might seem a radical change to a subject that has established itself as one of the most vibrant and influential in the pantheon of modern science. But, I would argue that the reason for its success — its interdisciplinary nature — is also a potential threat to its survival as a subject. If it is to survive, continue to attract the best students, and not disappear into a sea of different interdisciplinary specialisms, materials science must find its lost soul. I will make the case that including the arts into the curriculum will help with this search and I will describe a pilot project to test this, which I carried out at King’s College London.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(03)01224-0