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The Aha! Moment: A Scientist's Take on Creativity

Overview

This book is about having ideas and—a much longer haul—making them work. David Jones, best known for his Daedalus column, tells a multitude of stories about creators and their creations, including his own fantastical-seeming contributions to mainstream science such as the unrideable bicycle and chemical gardens in space. His theory of creativity endows each of us with a Random-Ideas Generator, a Censor, and an Observer-Reasoner. Jones applies his theory to a wide range of weird scientific experiments that he has ...

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The Aha! Moment: A Scientist's Take on Creativity

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Overview

This book is about having ideas and—a much longer haul—making them work. David Jones, best known for his Daedalus column, tells a multitude of stories about creators and their creations, including his own fantastical-seeming contributions to mainstream science such as the unrideable bicycle and chemical gardens in space. His theory of creativity endows each of us with a Random-Ideas Generator, a Censor, and an Observer-Reasoner. Jones applies his theory to a wide range of weird scientific experiments that he has conducted for serious scientific papers, for challenging printed expositions, and for presentations to a TV audience. He even suggests new ones, not yet tried!

Creativity is as essential to science as curiosity, physical intuition, and shrewd deduction from well-planned experiments. But, says Jones, ingenuity is very uncertain. Even for the greatest inventors, about 80 percent of ideas fail. Jokiness can help, and so can lots of random data. Jones has plenty of clever advice that will help spark that madly brilliant private thought in the first place—and will encourage you to take it further.

Neither dense nor demanding, The Aha! Moment is engrossing, edifying, and scientifically serious; yet it is lightly written and asks lots of silly questions. As Jones shows, it can often pay to take an absurd idea seriously.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Foreword Reviews
The Aha! Moment is not bogged down with scientific detail and tech talk; in fact, it asks a multitude of absurd questions meant to promote innovative and logical brainstorming. Jones gives dozens of examples from his own body of work... While his examples dominate more than half of the book, they are intriguing and stimulating, acting as a means to promote creativity in fellow scientists and artists.

— Aimee Jodoin

Midwest Book Review
A top pick not to be limited to science holdings, this will reach many a general-interest reader with its fascinating, readable and lively insights.
Chemistry World
David Jones sees himself as the court jester of science and, as with jesters of old, he is allowed to say things that other mortals might think but dare not speak... Most of the book is an eclectic blend of Jones the chemist and Daedalus the mad scientist and together they make entertaining reading. You’d be mad not to buy it

— John Emsley

The Scientist
A practical blueprint to bolster one's own creative process, a treasure map to innovative insights.

— Bob Grant

New Scientist
A fascinating insight into one man's never-ending search for ideas.

— Jessica Griggs

Foreword Reviews - Aimee Jodoin
The Aha! Moment is not bogged down with scientific detail and tech talk; in fact, it asks a multitude of absurd questions meant to promote innovative and logical brainstorming. Jones gives dozens of examples from his own body of work... While his examples dominate more than half of the book, they are intriguing and stimulating, acting as a means to promote creativity in fellow scientists and artists.
Chemistry World - John Emsley
David Jones sees himself as the court jester of science and, as with jesters of old, he is allowed to say things that other mortals might think but dare not speak... Most of the book is an eclectic blend of Jones the chemist and Daedalus the mad scientist and together they make entertaining reading. You’d be mad not to buy it
The Scientist - Bob Grant
A practical blueprint to bolster one's own creative process, a treasure map to innovative insights.
New Scientist - Jessica Griggs
A fascinating insight into one man's never-ending search for ideas.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781421403311
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 12/12/2011
  • Edition description: 20
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 968,461
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Now retired, David Jones continues to publish challenging articles, mostly for Chemistry World. He has worked in academia, industry, and television. A constant stimulus for his creativity was his weekly Daedalus column, probably the longest-running joke in science. Daedalus was the court jester in the Palace of Science; he appeared in New Scientist, Nature, and the Guardian newspaper. Each week Daedalus took some well-known bit of science and pushed it to a clever and often preposterous extreme—which sometimes came true. Daedalus frequently leaks into The Aha! Moment.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface: Creativity in My Career ix

1 A Theory of Creativity 1

2 The Creative-Environment 25

3 Thoughts on the Random-Ideas Generator 48

4 Intuition and Odd Notions 70

5 Creativity in Scientific Papers 81

6 Heat and Gravity 100

7 Astronomical Musings 109

8 Rotating Things 127

9 Explosions and Fuses 136

10 Tricks with Optics 151

11 Properties of Materials 166

12 Physical Phenomena I Have Noticed 175

13 Odd Notions I Have Played With 185

14 Literary Information 201

15 Inventions We Need but Don't Have 212

16 A List of Silly Questions 226

17 A Short Guide to Being Creative 245

Notes 249

Index 265

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