‘Eureka Moments in Science’ are a myth – according to a new ebook released today
IOP Publishing has expanded its growing collection of e-books today with the release of “Creativity for Scientists and Engineers: A Practical Guide” which explores how scientists can enrich their individual and collective creativity, and thus generate more ideas. , and of better quality.
“While the ‘Eureka moment’ makes for a great story – the genius inventor suddenly makes a brilliant new device, the genius scientist runs to his desk to write the big equation – the much more prosaic truth is that creativity is the result of very hard work, often over very long periods of time and building on the work of others,” says Dennis Sherwood, one of the nation’s leading experts on creativity and innovation and author of the book released today. today.
Miriam Maus, Publishing Director at IOP Publishing, says, “Creativity is at the heart of everything we do, and we are proud to publish a book that provides a practical guide for scientists to improve and develop their creative confidence. , to decipher between good and bad ideas and how to maintain a culture of creativity and innovation within a team.
The book presents pragmatic and powerful processes for generating ideas based on the first fundamental principles associated with “Koestler’s Law”, which describes how seemingly unrelated components can come together in meaningful ways to create an innovative concept. It also explores the importance of cultural factors that must be taken into account for creativity to occur.
To illustrate the principles, the book gives examples of creativity in science and engineering, as has happened both historically and in modern science, such as the origins of Newton’s Laws of Motion and what Watson and Crick have actually done to find out the structure of DNA.
A key example used by Sherwood to demonstrate the power of “Koestler’s Law” applied to physics is Einstein’s discovery of special relativity. In his landmark 1905 paper, Einstein gives no reference – which seems to suggest that special relativity was the creation of a “lone genius”. But that was not the case, for Einstein’s breakthrough was, like Newton’s, achieved by “standing on the shoulders of giants” such as James Clark Maxwell, Henrik Lorentz and Henri Poincaré.
Most importantly, the book includes a chapter in which 13 leading contemporary scientists and engineers tell their own thought-provoking stories, from how cows in Kansas sparked an idea to reduce noise in valves to the discovery of gravitational waves. .
“The essence of Koestler’s Law, combining knowledge from one domain, then spotting how it could be used in a very different context, solved the problem of suspending the interferometer mirrors to detect waves”, explains Professor Sheila Rowan CBE FRS, from the University of Glasgow’s Institute for Gravitational Research. “I think if you look you’ll find this kind of story over and over again in the field of gravitational wave sensing – where the right ideas and inventions at the right time have come together to make progress.”
Creativity for Scientists and Engineers is for people who want to develop their personal creativity as well as that of the teams they lead.
This publication adds to IOP Publishing’s collection of high-quality e-books that brings together innovative digital publishing with leading authors from across the physical sciences. In 2021, IOP Publishing added 111 new titles to its collection.