Scientific Work and Creativity

Book for victoria tutor to recommend to students

Before I became a math and physics tutor I had regular jobs. Even though they offered much less time-off, I still seemed to travel more than I do now.

Some of my most memorable trips were to science conferences. One of them was at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). That was where I met a (then) young man named Reggie Smith who I was convinced would do some very interesting things in his life. By that time he had received a physics degree from the University of Virginia. Since then he has gone on to study at Beijing Normal University and to receive an MBA from the Sloan School of Business at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

A few days ago I noticed that Reggie has edited a new book called Scientific Work and Creativity: Advice from the Masters. To quote the CSL press release…

How do the great discoverers of science really work? Biographers, psychologists, and philosophers have written much on the phenomenon of scientific creativity. This collection of essays takes you into the minds of some of the world’s greatest scientists. You can read in their own words how they worked, thought, and discovered crucial insights.

It looks like this book will offer some good insights into the human side of science so I look forward to reading it because it looks like something I will want to recommend to my students.

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2 Responses to Scientific Work and Creativity

  1. Don Scott says:

    Wonderful post, Brian. This is a book I’ll look for.

    Have you read any of George R. Stewart’s books? In his ecological novels, he weaves science into poetic prose, thus creating a fine cross-discipline model. The best of them, and the hardest to read, is Sheep Rock, but Storm, Fire, and Earth Abides also follow that model.

    As Leonardo wrote: Arte y Scientia.

    Or, as Wendell Berry put it, “Science means knowing and art means doing. How can you know without doing or do without knowing?”

    Do you know about the CONTACT conference? Next March in Sunnyvale, with participation by writers, filmmakers, NASA and other scientists? One day at SETI Institute, 1.5 at a local hotel. Small, inexpensive conference. Message me if you’d like to attend, maybe do a paper about this book?



    • Brian says:

      Hi Don.

      I know I read some short fiction by George R. Stewart back when I subscribed to Analog and I am pretty sure I read Earth Abides when in high school. Now that you have reminded me about him, I will have to look into some of the others.

      I have certainly heard the Wendell Berry quote but did not know it was from him.

      On the same Caltech trip I mentioned in the blog post, I also attended a Mars conference of some sort (but not a Mars Society one). While there, I think you introduced me to someone, possibly named James, who was one of the CONTACT organizers. I think he lived on the Olympic Peninsula, possibly in Port Angeles. I followed the event for a while and one year I started to plan on attending but something came up, the timing did not work out, and I never got back to trying. Since you have mentioned it here, I have tried to Google the 2013 event but the words “contact” and “conference” bring up way to many unrelated search results. If you send me a link for the event I would be happy to post it on my blog.

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