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Issue 1

God Glows, Tania Hershman
Tania is a poet, writer, teacher, and editor based in the North of England.
taniahershman.com | @taniahershman

The Covid-19 Pandemic, Marianne Bradley
Marianne is a junior doctor for NHS England.

Miranda Blue, Romana Guillotte
Romana is a writer based in the USA.

Lossy Compression, Thomas Willemain
Thomas is Professor Emeritus of Industrial Systems Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
tomwillemain.com

Physics is a Humanism, Jonathan Beesley
Jonathan is a PhD student in theoretical physics at Imperial College London.

Nucleus, Laurence Klavan
Laurence is a playwright and author. He has written musicals, plays, novels, short stories, and graphic novels.
laurenceklavan.com

In Conversation with Pippa Goldschmidt
Pippa is a writer based in Edinburgh and Frankfurt. Her new anthology, Uncanny Bodies, a collection of fiction, poetry and academic writing inspired by the uncanny is out now.
pippagoldschmidt.co.uk | @goldipipschmidt

Editorial

When we had our first meeting with our designer, Cerys, she asked us to describe the magazine in one line. After much discussion, we settled on ‘finding the art in science’. Few would disagree that science is of vital importance in almost every aspect of our lives, but realistic literary depictions of science and scientists is rare. We hope TAMARIND will go some way towards redressing that.

We are delighted to publish a range of writing in our first issue, encompassing our tagline. We have stories that deal with the joys and frustrations of being a scientist and stories that examine the far-reaching and complex impacts of science on our personal lives. We also have an essay arguing that science is, at its core, a humanism, and a moving account of the Covid-19 pandemic from the perspective of a young NHS doctor. Finally, we have an interview with Pippa Goldschmidt: novelist, writer-in-residence, and former astrophysicist.

We are extremely proud of our first issue, and we hope you enjoy reading it as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together. If manything sparks a thought, don’t hesitate to get in touch — we may include a ‘letters’ section in future issues.

Gautam Kambhampati

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Editorial

From Poe’s lament that science had tarnished everything from the Moon to his dreams to the ominous tales of scientific experiment in the works of HG Wells and Mary Shelley, art and science have often lived uneasily beside one another.

Some scientists, when they are not dismissing art as a mere tool for communication or entertainment, view artistic interpretations of the world as either self-absorbed or fanciful. On the other hand, some in the arts accuse science of robbing the world of wonder, leaving behind a universe whose beauty has simply been explained away.

The truth is that the distinction between the two is not between emotion and logic, or illusion and reality. The distinction is between an attempt to make personal the understanding of the universal in science, and to make universal the understanding of the personal in art.

To reduce science to inhuman rationality is to mistake the product of science with the idealised process of science. This is no different to reducing a painting to the technicalities of brushstrokes and pigments: the same mistaken call to utilitarianism made by scientists who perceive art as merely a tool. Science cannot be severed from human experience: it is driven by the deeply human desire to understand everything in the universe and to find our place within it.

Art, then, allows us to understand that which science cannot. Science cannot tell us what van Gogh experienced as he gazed at the night sky, only his paintings can do that. Science cannot give us insight into HP Lovecraft’s crushing existential dread, only his writing can do that. This holds just as true for the experiences of scientists. Science cannot explain the way that scientists see the world to others: only art can do that.

As a showcase for creative writing in, around, and about science, scientists, and the interaction between science and society, we hope to foster an understanding of science as an emotional and artistic endeavour.

Gautam Kambhampati
Editor