Olivia Judson’s blog on The New York Times site today tackles science, including the teaching of science and thinking creatively. It continues the dialogue of my last post so I thought I’d like to it.
The second misconception that comes from this “facts, facts, facts” method of teaching science is the impression that scientific discovery progresses as an orderly, logical “creep”; that each new discovery points more or less unambiguously to the next. But in reality, while some scientific work does involve the plodding, brick-by-brick accumulation of evidence, much of it requires leaps of imagination and daring speculation. (This raises the interesting question of when speculation is more likely to generate productive lines of enquiry than deductive creep. I don’t know the answer — I’d have to speculate.)
In conclusion, she says:
But there’s one way in which we should not be limited: imagination. As Einstein put it, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”