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Where do scientific ideas come from?

20 Feb 2020 | Media

Nicolas Martin – The scientific method – France culture

Where does innovative scientific thinking come from? How do these bright ideas come about? Does the brain work in mute? What is scientific creativity?

Bachelard, in a recording dating from 1947, tells us about the wonderful in science. He tells us that “to know nature well, you must have admired it”. He cites the telegraph, the telephone, the photography, the radio, the vaccines, as examples of these amazing discoveries. According to him, we are entering the era of geniuses, with Einstein, Heisenberg. A “heritage of admiration” is built up.

How does an idea arise? Can anyone become a genius? Is there a “mechanics of creativity”, and if so, what is it? Should we not perceive an excess in this desire to break through processes that may be doomed to remain mysterious?

The word creativity is recent. It dates from the 1940s. Should we speak of a creation of the concept of creativity? We may indeed witness a rehabilitation of the imagination, in the sense that the imagination can fecundate scientific research. Is there a left brain logical ,and an right brain analogical, that allows us to wander, to dream? What happens to the chemist Kékulé? To the physiologist Loewi?

What is an idea? Could we create without necessity? Would we even have the right, as Rilke suggests? “Would you die if you were forbidden to write? ” he writes in ” Letters to a young poet “. The idea runs through us. It is rare.

Does creativity in science designate a new, original, and adapted production?

What roles do order and disorder play in science?
How to understand the use of drugs to support creative processes? How to resist automatisms? What is infobesity? Why is brain rest essential?

What are the specifics of scientific thought? Why is it so important to have the right to be wrong? Is the weight of doxa heavier in science than in philosophy? What is serendipity?

Can we observe the “insight”, this sudden change in mental representation, this sudden reinterpretation of what we see? How can we understand that sometimes the solution to a problem appears suddenly, without effort, and without being able to describe the steps that led to this solution?

Is the mind, as Bergson has written, “a reality capable of drawing from itself more than it contains”? What does the idea of ​​”collective eureka” mean?