Art and Science Come Together In My Bike, My Life, And My Aorta


Hi folks,

To me, the function of my race equipment is much more important than its appearance. My bike guy, Victor, treats the bikes he builds as works of art, which they are, and that is why he hates my mirror. I am a function guy. For instance, my house looks great according to passers by, but I love it because of where it is, and because it is where my office resides.

My little blue house which I consider to be a work of art, especially the color scheme chosen by the people who sold it to me.

This is where I blog most of the time, keep my bikes and other training gear, and where I come for quiet contemplation. Leaning against the front step you can just see my new Guru bike to the right of the photo. The house is ideally situated for riding away from town, but the roads are dangerous, especially those angry trucks with their big wing mirrors. When you road bike, death will generally come from behind, which is why I like to have a mirror to avoid death if I can. You never know your luck.

Guru by front steps of little blue house. Nice bike. Thanks Victor!

Here is my bike, again. As you can see, it has cow horns, not drops, and there is nowhere to attach a mirror. I tried one of those little mirrors fixed to my helmet. Drove me crazy. They have at least three drawbacks, (1) they look dorky as hell, not at all artistic, (2) it is like having a fly around your head that needs swatting all the time, and (3) you have to squint and take your eyes off the road see in the mirror (and yes, death can come from ahead of you), which is very off putting.

Sprintech mirror attached by rubber bands to my new, 'work of Victor art,' Guru tri bike.

I loved the Sprintech mirror, Rory gave me, but it is designed for drop handlebars. It produces almost no drag (based on my knowledge of fluid mechanics) and has a wide range of view, so I attached it to my new bike with rubber bands. Here it is, and it works great. Function is what it is all about to me. Victor really hates it, but he does not seem to be able to come up with something better. This is where we come to Science and Art. My bike is the product of both, being a smooth piece of carefully designed engineering built around an artistic but strong carbon fiber frame.

Many years ago my artist friend, Andy Fleishman, and I used to give talks on the integration of Art with Science. They are two ways of looking at the Universe, each complementing the other.

One of Andy's creations, a beautiful black and white table made of concrete: From:

Andy’s art is different to Victor’s. Andy’s constructions sometimes have a function, but they are clearly designed to express an artistic message based on patterns, visual appeal, and texture. Here is an example of a beautiful table Andy made out of concrete. Too beautiful to eat off of? This work depends upon an almost obsessive attention to detail, which was exactly what I needed when attempting to build physical models of the nose of the rat back in the early 1980s. Andy’s skills resulted in excellent models, which were then used to study nasal airflow, and interpret causes of lesion distribution for risk assessments of formaldehyde and other toxic gases. This work then evolved into a mathematical simulation program, headed up by Dr. Julia Kimbell, of UNC Chapel Hill, and I am proud to have been involved in work that three decades later is helping people directly and does not involve the use of laboratory animals. This work would never have got off of the ground without the integration of art, science, and mathematics. Aside: Is Mathematics a science? Read this really interesting blog to find out.

Cook Medical Zenith Aortic Stent Graft. From:

Finally, Art and Science really came to together to save my life and my Ironman training in the form of the Cook Zenith Stent Graft, the design of which depended heavily upon the ancient Japanese art of Origami. Just look at the thing. A real work of plumbing art. I never get to see my stent, but I sure appreciate it function.

Thanks again Cook Medical.

-k Your Medical Mind



  1. I sort of rejected science a while ago and defined the big break through ideas all as art. From an apple falling to the motions of planets is a big leap not a rational progressive step. It is an inspiration resulting from one of those special “ping” moments.
    So there are definitional difficulties for me. I just see all real good new stuff as a result of the art bit of the brain/mind. The little integer steps like the latest computer being a bit better than the previous I just see as engineering or technology.
    Science, real good original science, is inspirational and as such for me is art.

    • Kevin Morgan says

      Hi Trevor,
      Too long to discuss whilst on the road, but science is a subject that interests me a lot. Most science is just adding bricks one at a time, and often to the wrong building. After a satisfying 40 year career in science my contribution was significant in a tiny tiny tiny way, which is the way it works. Then someone takes all the little bits and pieces and has an epiphany, many of the ‘wrong buildings’ vanish, and it starts all over again in that particular ‘branch of science.’ There is science and Science, never sure which should have the caps, there are parasites, and politicians, all working under the guise of being scientists. Sounds like I should write a post on this. OK! On the road again.
      -k @FitOldDog

  2. Write away but in my core I feel all great break through ideas are more akin to art than bricklaying.
    However, I am quite good at laying bricks, literally as well as figuratively. I managed to improve medium wave transmitting antennae effeciency. Mostly this was “bricklaying” but I also had a “ping” moment or two.
    What you call science sounds more like work at a steady plod. Not that steady plod does not get results.
    Perhaps we operate from a differing set of definitions.
    Hope you do not text and drive at same time,

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.