The Creativity Crisis: Reinventing Science to Unleash Possibility

Hardcover | January 13, 2015

byRoberta Ness

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Every day we hear about some fascinating new discovery. Yet anemic progress toward addressing the greatest risks to humankind - clean energy, emerging infections, and cancer - warns us that science may not be meeting its potential. Indeed, there is evidence that advances are slowing. Scienceis costly and can hurt people; thus it must be pursued with caution. Yet, excessive caution stifles the very thing that powers inventiveness: creation. In her boldest book yet, Roberta Ness argues that the system of funding agencies, universities, and industries designed to promote innovation hascome to impede it.The Creativity Crisis strips away the scientific enterprise's veil of mystique to reveal the gritty underbelly of university research. America's economic belt-tightening discourages long-term, risky investments in revolutionary advances and elevates short-term projects with assured outcomes. Thepursuit of basic research insights, with the greatest power to transform but little ability to enrich, is being abandoned. The social nature of academia today also contributes to the descent of revolutionary discovery. In academia, which tends to be insular, hierarchical, and tradition-bound,research ideas are "owned" and the owners gain enormous clout to decide what is accepted. Communalism is antithetical to idea ownership. Thus science has not embraced the Web-based democratic sharing of ideas called crowdsourcing, one of the greatest tools for creativity and social change in ourage. A final battleground between creation and caution is within the sphere of ethics. Scientists are typically altruistic but sometimes have all-too-human inclinations toward avarice and conceit. The most original thinkers are most likely to flout convention. This tendency can pull them across thelines of acceptable behavior. Caution is a necessary check on the destructive potential of amoral creation. Yet, when every individual and institution is considered a priori to be a threat, adventuresome invention is squelched. Creation and caution in science should be in balance, but they are not. For possibilities to unlock, the ecosystem in which science is done must be fundamentally rebalanced.

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Every day we hear about some fascinating new discovery. Yet anemic progress toward addressing the greatest risks to humankind - clean energy, emerging infections, and cancer - warns us that science may not be meeting its potential. Indeed, there is evidence that advances are slowing. Scienceis costly and can hurt people; thus it must b...

Roberta Ness is an internationally renowned physician-scientist and author of 350 scientific papers and books. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine, National Academies of Science; a Fellow of the American College of Physicians as well as the American College of Epidemiology; and a frequent advisor to the National Institutes of...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:296 pages, 9.41 × 6.5 × 1.1 inPublished:January 13, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199375380

ISBN - 13:9780199375387

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Table of Contents

1. Ying and Yang2. Creation and Caution in Three Acts3. Which Should we Clamor for: Transistors or Smart Phones?4. Stanford's Golden Egg5. Is it all about Getting Rich?6. Reinventing Meandering Exploration7. Everyone Wins when the Genius Gets the Girl8. The Good Fight in the Public Square9. Find Piece of Mind in the Crowd10. Reinventing the Power of the Group11. The Perilous End of Science's Barrel 112. Encouraging13. Creativity and Malevolence14. Reinventing Freedom15. In Opening16. Just Do ItAfterwordReferences