Are music and sci-ence different types of intel-ligence (as posited in the context of Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences), or are they two manifestations of common ways of think-ing? By focusing on scien-tists who have been musi-cians and on the ways they have used their musical knowledge to inform their scientific work, the author argues in this article that music and science are two ways of using a common set of “tools for thinking” that unify all disciplines. He explores the notion that cre-ative individuals are usually polymaths who think in trans-disciplinary ways.

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Author notes

Robert Root-Bernstein, biologist, historian and artist, believes in synthesis through complementarity. His unusual mixture of activities was made possible by a MacArthur fellowship.