This is the accompanying website to a poster with the title

Combinatorics and order as a foundation of creativity, information organisation and art in the work of Wilhelm Ostwald

at the conference Analogous spaces – architecture and the space of information, intellect and action,
15-17 May 2008, Ghent University, Belgium

Text and picture of poster

Thomas Hapke
University Library, Hamburg University of Technology
21071 Hamburg, Germany
hapke@tu-harburg.de, http://www.tu-harburg.de/b/hapke/

Combinatorics Crossword

The physical chemist and 1909 Nobel laureate Wilhelm Ostwald (1853-1932) developed broad and multifaceted interests in philosophy (of nature), history (of science) as well as color theory and the international organization of scholarly work. Presented are some of Wilhelm Ostwald’s interdisciplinary activities in the areas of education, information and art. In analogy to the concept by Frederick Winslow Taylor concerning a fragmented and scientific view in industrial work, Ostwald’s contributions in the area of research methods and how to work as a scholar aim at understanding the emergence of scholarly concepts, ideas and inventions as well as at subordinating scholarly work systematic advancement. This is attested by papers of Ostwald with titles like “Techniques of inventing” or “Systematic inventing”.

Applying combinatorics, which grew out of his philosophy of nature and which was viewed by Ostwald as a basis for crea­tivity, Ost­wald developed a theory of forms and colors. His work in­fluenced marginally the activities of such movements in art like the German Werkbund, the Dutch De Stijl, and the Bau­haus. This poster supports a today more and more visible connection between “in-formation”, education as well as art and design.