The Value of Creativity in Scientific Research

Speaker: Professor Daren Caruana
Institute: University College London
Country: UK
Speaker Link:
Time: 10:00 CET 09-Feb-23

Professor Daren Caruana

University College London, UK

In this lecture some seminal ideas or inventions in chemistry, engineering, and some technology, will be presented that have made an extraordinary impact in society. The emphasis will be to explore the origin of the ideas or the processes that lead to the various accomplishments. Quoting some notable individuals who are credited with some stellar inventions such as Kevlar®, stainless steel and the process of vulcanisation, to name but a few. The tour of ground-breaking ideas will reflect on the ingredients that make a successful discovery which leads to a paradigm shift in approach, for example, microscopy from optical to scanning tunnelling and more recently DNA sequencing from electrophoresis to nanopores. The different processes leading to a valuable idea will be explored, with the view to extract techniques or approaches that may be harnessed to promote more creative research.

The questions intended to explore are: Is creativity something we can teach or is it an innate skill? Can we/should we, include ‘creativity’ modules in some form in undergraduate or postgraduate programmes? What are the barriers for creativity of modern science/chemistry research? How can ‘Blue Skies’ research be promoted, and would it be advantageous?

Keywords: Creativity, ideas, originality, Blue-skies research, incremental research, lateral thinking



[1] - “Lateral Thinking”, 2016, Edward De Bono.
[2] - “Where do Good Ideas come from”, 2011, “The invention of Air”, 2009 “Everything Bad is Good for You”, 2006, Steven Johnson.
[3] - “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, 2012, Daniel Kahneman.
[4] - “The logic of Scientific Discovery”, 2002, Karl Popper.
[5] - “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”, 1971, Thomas Kuhn.
[6] - “As I am”, 2010, Patricia Neal.


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