Physics Imagination Retreat: Exploring the Role of Imagination in the Work of Scientists

Robison, Rosalyn A. V. (2017) Physics Imagination Retreat: Exploring the Role of Imagination in the Work of Scientists. Project Report. Imagination Institute.

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Highlights • Physicists take questions about imagination seriously. • Imagination may involve asking questions which are new, connect previously unconnected ideas, lead to interesting solutions or stimulate thinking, and are also timely. • Other forms of imagination however may not centre on asking new questions, for example involving practical problem solving, or reformulating the work of others in better ways. • The act of ‘doing’ physics involves conjuring up mental images (or imaginings) – which vary considerably by researcher. • Imagination is not solely a trait of the individual, it may be a product of group interactions or wider scientific culture. • Imagination in physics (as in all areas) is both constrained and enabled by the methods and languages it uses; this proves both challenging and exhilarating. • A number of tensions were identified in the pursuit of imaginative enquiry, for example between freedom from tradition, and in-depth working knowledge. • Senior physicists see themselves as playing a key role in stimulating the imaginations of the next generation of researchers.

Item Type: Research Report or Working Paper (Project Report)
Keywords: scientific process, mathematics, psychology
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Dr Rosie Robison
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2017 13:52
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:58

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