Science and Ideas

exploring for creative connections

There is no real bridge between the work and findings of science research and everybody else. It would be really nice if there was some kind of platform to help bridge those two worlds. We should be able to work on what we love to do and how we are going to make a difference and if there is enough of us all working on our own little piece then we can connect the dots and that will be the big picture.

Sarika Cullis-Suzuki
David Suzuki Fellowships

This Will Make You Smarter

To arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.

John Brockman
The Reality Club

The disciplinary structure in universities is an important foundation. It enforces methodological rigor. But it doesn’t really correlate with reality. Why do we have one field, psychology, concerning the inner life and another field, sociology, concerning the outer life, when the distinction between the two is porous and maybe insignificant? Many things in the world have properties not present in their parts. They cannot be understood simply by taking them apart. You have to observe the interactions of the whole.

The explicit purpose of this book is to give us better tools to think about the world. Several of the 150 ideas contributed emphasize that we see the world in deeply imperfect ways, and that our knowledge is partial. The contributors have respect for the scientific method and group enterprise precisely because the stock of our own individual reason is small.

David Brooks
Author, The Social Animal
from This Will Make You Smarter
New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking

This Will Make You Smarter contains ideas contributed by 150 researchers to the Edge Question posed by John Brockman in 2011.

What scientific concept would improve everyone’s cognitive toolkit?

Here the term “scientific” is to be understood in a broad sense, – as the most reliable way of gaining knowledge about anything, whether it be human behaviour, corporate behaviour, the fate of the planet, or the future of the universe. A “scientific concept” may come from philosophy, logic, economics, jurisprudence, or any other analytical enterprises, as long as it is a rigorous tool that can be summed up succinctly but has broad application to understanding the world.

The Science of Probabilities

These are eight scientific concepts from This Will Make You Smarter which  from my point of view could contribute most to improving our thinking and our probability of creating possibilities for our future.

Strategic Allocation of Attention – Jonah Lehrer
The Pareto Principle – Clay Shirky
The Web of Causality – Nigel Goldenfield
Constraint Satisfaction – Stephen M. Kosslyn
Keystone Consumers – Jennifer Jacquet
The Culture Cycle – Hazel Rose Markus and Alana Conner
Designing Your Mind – Don Tapscott
Systemic Equilibrium – Matthew Ritchie

Plus these two ideas from John Brockman’s This Explains Everything – Deep, Beautiful, and Elegant Theories of How the World Works

The Principle of Empiricism, or See for Yourself – Michael Shermer
Pascal’s Wager – Tim O’Reilly

These ideas form part of the foundation of ideas I am creating with

Perhaps the greatest pleasure in science comes from theories that derive the solution to some deep puzzle from a small set of simple principles in a surprising way.

John Brockman

Creative connections

The Science of Probabilities – exploring our creative environment
The Art of Possibilities – creating with our experience
Creating Connections with Ideas – exciting creative exploration
Exploring the Quantum Idea – the quantum mechanics
Science and Ideas – exploring for creative connections