Being creative in science, or in any field, is of great importance for success and
innovation, and is a challenge. How do scientists learn to be creative? In school,
mathematics and science are generally taught as courses in which most everything
is known: the answers are in the back of the book or on the web. The role of the
student is to understand the material. In most science courses, creativity is not
generally expected. At times, the logical mind is an enemy of creativity. On the
other hand, creativity is expected and valued in many art classes, where
experimentation is encouraged and there are no “correct” or perfect pictures.
I think scientists that express their creativity in the arts, in music, in creative
writing, benefit from an increased creativity in science. Many theoretical physicists,
like Einstein, greatly enjoyed playing classical music. When young students come to
me looking for advice about science as a career, I always suggest taking art classes.
No doubt, the beneficial effect of this cross fertilization occurs in fields other than
How do we learn creativity? By taking risks, experimenting, seeing what other are
doing, exploring alternative approaches and methods, exploring different materials
and perspectives, paying attention to our inner guides and accepting what pleases
us. It takes courage and commitment to go beyond the norms. One of my tricks is
writing when I wake in the middle of the night, when my logical mind is off duty, and
a more dream like state dominates.

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