In response to Dr. Crow’s editorial at http://asunews.asu.edu/20100901_researchinvestment, I offer this perspective:
Investing in university research, and the graduate students who are involved, not only promotes the objectives Dr. Crow has described, it also promotes the development of critical thinking skills which are fundamental to the entire process of innovation, invention, creativity and discovery.
Research not only leads to tangible outcomes that benefit society and our economy, it provides the most robust environment for learning, for it challenges people to think in new ways, unexpected ways, to challenge the status quo.
Consider these statements about the creative process, which is driven by hard work yes, but also something else, something intangible, something you can’t quantify on a quarterly balance sheet:
“There is no such thing as a logical method of having new ideas, or a logical reconstruction of this process…Every discovery contains an irrational element or a creative intuition.” — Sir Karl Popper, in The Logic of Scientific Discovery.
“It is surprising that people do not believe that there is imagination in science. It is a very interesting kind of imagination, unlike that of the artist. The great difficulty is in trying to imagine something that you have never seen, that is consistent in every detail with what has already been seen, and that is different from what has already been thought of; furthermore, it must be definite and not a vague proposition.” — Dr. Richard P. Feynman, in The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist.
“…minority dissent stimulates creativity and divergent thought, which, through participation, manifest as innovation.” — DE DREU Carsten K., and WEST Michael A., Minority dissent and team innovation: The importance of participation in decision making, Journal of applied psychology, 2001 v86 n6 p1191-1201.
“It’s when we do this foolish, time-consuming, romantic, quixotic, childlike, thing called play that we are most practical, most useful, and most firmly grounded in reality, because the world itself is the most unlikely of places, and it works in the oddest of ways, and we won’t make any sense of it by doing what everybody else has done before us. It’s when we fool around with the stuff the world is made of that we make the most valuable discoveries, we create the most lasting beauty, we discover the most profound truths. The youngest children can do it, and the greatest artists, the greatest scientists do it all the time.” — Philip Pullman, Common sense has much to learn from moonshine, The Guardian, 22Jan05.
“Many people believe innovation requires thinking ‘outside the box’. But innovators know the truth….there is no box.” — David Wright
This post was submitted by David Wright.