'Art' was a load of fluff


The word 'bollocks' appeared in Nature for the first time (Nature 392, 663; 1998) when Martin Kemp quoted the reaction of a lowly Leicester University student to some photographs published in Kemp's 'Art and Science' series.

I was that student, and the remark ended up in Kemp's article because, on seeing Cornelia Parker's photographs of navel fluff and the like, I had exclaimed “What's this bollocks doing in Nature?” to his daughter Dr Joanna Kemp, who was also at Leicester at the time. Unfortunately, I was at sea when the second article was published, so was unable to respond to his somewhat scathing comments.

As it is sadly likely that my association with Kemp's article is the closest that I will ever get to a Nature publication, I am grateful for this opportunity to have my contribution to advancing the understanding between science and art formally acknowledged by your publication of this letter.

The fact that I am responsible for the word 'bollocks' first appearing in Nature is not only a brilliant addition to my CV but may even represent the pinnacle of my scientific career.

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Johnson, M. 'Art' was a load of fluff. Nature 410, 513 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1038/35069248

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