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Is snooker predominantly Art or Science?

Art
0
No votes
Science
1
100%
 
Total votes : 1

Art or Science

Postby Badsnookerplayer

In your opinion, would the great exponents of our beloved sport be considered to have skills more in common with an Artist, or with a Scientist:

Art; noun; the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination

Science; noun; the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

Please add any relevant reasoning to your choice.

Thank you.

Re: Art or Science

Postby Dan-cat

why isn't there an option for combination of both? For that is what it is :P

Re: Art or Science

Postby SnookerEd25

Dan-cat wrote:why isn't there an option for combination of both? For that is what it is :P


I'm not sure it's either, when Rod Lawler is playing... :roll:

Re: Art or Science

Postby Dan-cat

SnookerEd25 wrote:
Dan-cat wrote:why isn't there an option for combination of both? For that is what it is :P


I'm not sure it's either, when Rod Lawler is playing... :roll:


lolz. Like walking through treacle

Re: Art or Science

Postby Cloud Strife

All snooker players are scientists to varying degrees, but there's only ever been one artist in the history of the sport. That's Ronnie O'Sullivan.

Re: Art or Science

Postby acesinc

Cloud Strife wrote:All snooker players are scientists to varying degrees, but there's only ever been one artist in the history of the sport. That's Ronnie O'Sullivan.


I see Ronnie as a more mature, rather refined version of Alex. Ronnie is fully deserving of all the accolades he receives, but Alex was a true renegade in a world of stuffed shirts and Alex managed to change that world to a degree. Perhaps Ronnie would have filled that role had there not been an Alex before him, we cannot know. I believe of the two terms, "artist" would more clearly define Alex as "scientist" implies a controlled, systematic, intellectual approach and no one could accuse Alex of any of those except in jest.

As for the original question, I am with Dan-Cat as in that the true answer is neither or both. Instead, it is certainly a balance of the available ingredients like a recipe in a way. Each "chef" on the snooker table blends the science and artistry in their own unique way to create their style of play.

Unfortunately, many of players I have known consider the game to be a truly intellectual pursuit as if studying to be a brain surgeon. The minutiae of every single stroke is considered in detail as if the fate of the world rests upon its outcome. Dare I say, Snooker is not actually all that "smart" of a game. It is primarily repetition of situations, and experience teaches what works well and what does not. Or at least it should. Most opponents that I play against treat virtually every single stroke as if this general table situation has never, ever occurred before in the history of Snooker and their critical job then is to give the world the gift of how to properly handle this exact table situation in the event that it should ever occur again. Cue the highlight reel.

Lest we believe that understanding science implies true intellect, let me state that my dog is quite the scientist. If I toss a chunk of bacon to him, he is very precise and accurate in his virtual instantaneous calculation of the geometric equation to define the arc of the parabola that it will travel, as well as mixing in any potential meteorological discrepancies of wind and air densities due to temperature. He balances that with the Newtonian physics of the Three Laws of Motion as well as determining the force imparted to the projectile by the chemical energy created by my muscles using the breakfast I ate this morning to figure how quickly the tasty morsel will reach its destination, i.e., his mouth. And he manages all that with incredible speed and accuracy. As I said, quite the scientist. And he sniffs his butthole when he farts.

Re: Art or Science

Postby Badsnookerplayer

OK - so given that theoretically, any position on a snooker table is solvable (I think this is true i.e. a computer/robot could identify and execute a clearance from any position including break-off) where is the art? The game would not be much of a spectacle as the robot with the break-off would clear with a 147 every time.All games would be won by a single frame by the robot who took the initial break. Essentially all matches would be decided by the decision on who breaks first - the coin toss!

Re: Art or Science

Postby acesinc

Badsnookerplayer wrote:OK - so given that theoretically, any position on a snooker table is solvable (I think this is true i.e. a computer/robot could identify and execute a clearance from any position including break-off) where is the art? The game would not be much of a spectacle as the robot with the break-off would clear with a 147 every time.All games would be won by a single frame by the robot who took the initial break. Essentially all matches would be decided by the decision on who breaks first - the coin toss!


Oh, I see what you did there! Very clever!

You do have a valid point. The strictly "science" route would work in theory, though watching Robot A versus Robot B would not likely be very entertaining which is the point of the endeavour at least from a commercial perspective. The first shot or two from this guy would be fine:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nH08-JQwsZQ

but I think his constant gloating would not go over too well with fans.

There is a poster in my house that my wife fancied. It states: "Sometimes the heart should do things without the brain's permission" with some modern art type splashes of colour in the imagery. The point is that while the strictly science approach is possible, the artistic approach, without the scientific knowledge base is certainly workable and far more entertaining (while at the same time and for the exact same reason, more prone to failure). The cold calculation of Robots A and B would be predictable and plodding. The imagination of Alex or Ronnie provides a sort of poetry in motion, each stroke shuffling the balls around the table in such a way that we the audience then see the lines of travel of the balls on the canvas of the baize the same way the "artist" had imagined those lines the moment before.

But of course, the best players in history have been a unique blend of the two. They would certainly not be very good technically without the scientific knowledge, and they would likely not be very entertaining without the artistic flair.

You want a really strange analogy? Imagine the lines of the snooker balls as being a "connect the dots" type puzzle from when you were a kid. The robot would simply connect the dots to create a square, or a triangle, or just the simplest of geometric patterns. The artistic player would find a way to connect the dots to show us a bird, or a tree, or a majestic sailing ship weathering a storm in the mighty Atlantic. While the science of simple geometry is solid and predictable, artistry and creativity provide far more entertainment value to improve quality of life. It is like surviving being fed through a tube versus savouring the finest offerings of a world renown chef.

Lastly, you are coming to this party about 60 years late, Player. You might be interested in this, an old time science fiction radio show from 1957 that explores this exact topic only using golf instead of snooker. If you have 20 minutes to devote, you may well enjoy this:

https://archive.org/details/XMinusOne570123OpenWarfare

I won't spoil the end for you, you will have to listen to find out if art or science will win.