Active Imagination - Role in Scientific and Mathematical Discovery

Role in Scientific and Mathematical Discovery

Important scientific discoveries have been made through imaginative cognition, such as Kekulé’s famous discovery of the carbon ring structure of benzene through a dream of a snake eating its tail. Hadamard suggested that imagination (and beauty) play central roles in mathematical creativity.

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Famous quotes containing the words role in, role, scientific, mathematical and/or discovery:

    If women’s role in life is limited solely to housewife/mother, it clearly ends when she can no longer bear more children and the children she has borne leave home.
    Betty Friedan (20th century)

    The trouble is that the expression ‘material thing’ is functioning already, from the very beginning, simply as a foil for ‘sense-datum’; it is not here given, and is never given, any other role to play, and apart from this consideration it would surely never have occurred to anybody to try to represent as some single kind of things the things which the ordinary man says that he ‘perceives.’
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    Experimental work provides the strongest evidence for scientific realism. This is not because we test hypotheses about entities. It is because entities that in principle cannot be ‘observed’ are manipulated to produce a new phenomena
    [sic] and to investigate other aspects of nature.
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    What he loved so much in the plant morphological structure of the tree was that given a fixed mathematical basis, the final evolution was so incalculable.
    —D.H. (David Herbert)

    Your discovery of the contradiction caused me the greatest surprise and, I would almost say, consternation, since it has shaken the basis on which I intended to build my arithmetic.... It is all the more serious since, with the loss of my rule V, not only the foundations of my arithmetic, but also the sole possible foundations of arithmetic seem to vanish.
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