Chase, Chance, and Creativity: The Lucky Art of Novelty / Edition 2

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This first book by the author of Zen and the Brain examines the role of chance in the creative process. James Austin tells a personal story of the ways in which persistence, chance, and creativity interact in biomedical research; the conclusions he reaches shed light on the creative process in any field.Austin shows how, in his own investigations, unpredictable events shaped the outcome of his research and brought about novel results. He then goes beyond this story of serendipity to propose a new classification of the varieties of chance, drawing on his own research and examples from the history of science—including the famous accidents that led Fleming to the discovery of penicillin. Finally, he explores the nature of the creative process, considering not only the environmental and neurophysiological correlates of creativity but also the role of intuition in both scientific discoveries and spiritual quests. This updated MIT Press paperback edition includes a new introduction and recent material on medical research,creativity, and spirituality.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A fascinating look at creativity from the inside." George Adelman Library Journal

"Anyone engaged in any kind of original work will find the book rewarding." Anthony Storr Washington Post

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262511353
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 9/14/2003
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 265
  • Sales rank: 1,565,561
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

James H. Austin, a clinical neurologist, researcher, and Zen practitioner for more than three decades, is Professor Emeritus of Neurology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and Courtesy Professor of Neurology at the University of Florida College of Medicine. He is the author of Zen and the Brain, Chase,Chance, and Creativity, Zen-Brain Reflections, Selfless Insight, and Meditating Selflessly, all published by the MIT Press.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface to the MIT Press Edition
By Way of Introduction
Pt. I The Meandering Chase 1
1 Of Nerves and Neurologists; Boston, 1950 3
2 Enlarged Nerves; Oakland, 1951 6
3 Metachromasia; New York City, 1953 8
4 Microscopic Studies; New York City, 1953 10
5 Sulfated Lipids; Portland, Oregon, 1955 15
6 Molecules and Meanderings, 1957 24
7 Controls and the Experimental Globoid Response, 1960 30
8 Enzymes and India, 1961, 1962-1963 36
9 Flashback; The Chase, 1942 42
10 Tom and Lafora Bodies, 1965 43
11 Finger Prints on the Window; Filling in the Hole 49
12 Overview: What Next? So What? 51
Pt. II The Varieties of Chance 59
13 Chance and the Creative Adventure 61
14 On the Trail of Serendipity 63
15 The Kettering, Pasteur, and Disraeli Principles 70
16 Personal Encounters with Chance I-IV 77
17 The Spanish Connection 80
18 Altamirage 84
19 The Fleming Effect: Examples of Chance in Biology and Medicine 86
20 Never on Monday; The Unhappy Accidents 91
Pt. III The Roots of Creativity 97
21 Some Dimensions of Creativity 99
22 The Creative Personality: Pro 104
23 The Creative Personality: Pro and Con 112
24 Motivations Underlying Creativity 118
25 Flashback: Life with Father, 1941 126
26 The Search for Novel Stimuli 129
27 Right Brain/Left Brain; One Brain 136
28 The Quest; The Quests 144
29 The Creative Setting 147
30 The Creative Prelude 159
31 Moments of Creative Inspiration 164
32 Follow Through; A More Personal View 168
33 All Quiet on the Eastern Front? 173
34 Prescription for Creativity 185
35 Summary 189
36 In Closing 190
Suggested Further Reading 193
App. A Condensed Plot of The Three Princes of Serendip 195
App. B Examples of Chance III and IV in Biology and Medicine 200
App. C Life in a Laboratory Examined 202
Glossary 205
Cast of Characters 211
Permissions 217
Notes 221
Index 239
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