A colleague of mine asked me regarding a phrase in my Manifesto,

Teaching is not a science, it is an art, and should be treated as such

“What is a science, and what is an art?”

What follows is my slightly modified response to him.

Manifesto is a political text, and therefore it uses nomination (simple naming of things, or giving examples) rather than definitions. Therefore a possible answer is:

Opera is art.
Pottery is a craft.
Physics is a science.

Of course, the boundaries between the three is sometimes hard to draw. Yesterday I visited Crafting Beauty exhibition at the British Museum, I had a chance to see an example of a fusion of art and craft.

Kuroda Tatsuaki (1904-82), Ornamental Box in a Flowering Design, about 1957

Maeta Akihiro, Jar with faceted body, 1996.

Osumi Yukie, Vase ‘Sea Breeze’, 1986

Nakagawa Mamoru, Vase with striped design, 1988

Most artists represented at the exhibition are designated as “Living National Treasures”; this concept is so remarkable that deserve explanation.

Since 1950, Japanese law protects not only tangible cultural assets (historical buildings, monuments, landscapes, etc.) but also certain intangible cultural assets, such as performance skills in traditional theater and craft techniques. Holders of these skills are known as “Living National Treasures”. The exhibtion in the British Museum was organised by the Agency for Cultural Affairs which designates new holders of the title records their craft techniques and exhibit their works.

Britain should adopt this approach and preserve dying teaching skills in mathematics on par with Morris dancing.