Sudden Genius: Creativity explored through ten extraordinary lives

Hardcover | October 15, 2010

byAndrew Robinson

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The highly admired scientist Linus Pauling, a double Nobel laureate in chemistry and peace, was once asked by a student. 'Dr Pauling, how do you have so many good ideas?' Pauling thought for a moment and replied: 'Well, David, I have a lot of ideas and throw away the bad ones.'Where do ideas come from? Why do some people have many more of them than others? How do you distinguish the good ideas from the bad? Most intriguing of all, perhaps, why do the best ideas sometimes strike in a flash of 'sudden genius'? These questions are the subject of this book. Andrew Robinsonexplores the exceptional creativity in both scientists and artists by following the trail that led ten individuals from childhood to the achievement of a famous creative breakthrough as an adult, in archaeology, architecture, art, biology, chemistry, cinema, music, literature, photography, andphysics. Broken into three parts, the book begins with the scientific study of creativity, covering talent, genius, intelligence, memory, dreams, the unconscious, savant syndrome, synaesthesia, and mental illness. The second part tells the stories of five breakthroughs by scientists and five by artists,ranging from Curie's discovery of radium and Einstein's theory of special relativity to Mozart's composing of The Marriage of Figaro and Virginia Woolf's writing of Mrs Dalloway. Robinson concludes by considering what highly creative people who achieve breakthroughs have in common; whetherbreakthroughs in science and art follow patterns; and whether they always involve imaginative leaps and even 'genius'.

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The highly admired scientist Linus Pauling, a double Nobel laureate in chemistry and peace, was once asked by a student. 'Dr Pauling, how do you have so many good ideas?' Pauling thought for a moment and replied: 'Well, David, I have a lot of ideas and throw away the bad ones.'Where do ideas come from? Why do some people have many more...

Andrew Robinson is the author of some twenty books covering both the arts and the sciences, which have been acclaimed by both national newspapers and specialist journals. They include five biographies of exceptionally creative individuals in a wide range of fields: the physicist Albert Einstein (A Hundred Years of Relativity, 2005), t...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:October 15, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199569959

ISBN - 13:9780199569953

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Table of Contents

Preface: Meetings with remarkable creatorsIntroduction: The science and art of breakthoughsPart I: Ingredients of Creativity1. Genius and talent: reality or myth?2. Intelligence is not enough3. Strange to ourselves4. Blue remembered Wednesdays5. The lunatic, the lover, and the poetPart II: Breakthroughs in Art and Science6. Leonardo da Vinci - The Last Supper7. Christopher Wren: St Paul's Cathedral8. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro9. 1 Jean-Francois Champollion: Decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs10. Charles Darwin: Evolution by natural selection11. Marie Curie: Discovery of radium12. Albert Einstein: Special relativity13. Virginia Woolf: Mrs Dalloway14. Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Decisive Moment15. Satyajit Ray: Pather PanchaliPart III: Patterns of Genius16. Family matters17. Professor of the little finger18. Creative science versus artistic creation19. Is there a creative personality?20. Reputation, fame, and genius21. The 'ten-year rule'Postscript: Genius and usReferences, Bibliography, Index