"Discovering" is an experimental work. It attempts not merely to look at what scientists do but to get inside their minds to find out how, to see science as the imaginative endeavour of the people who do it. Using a fictional format, the author unveils the discovery process in action through the discussions of six characters who attend a colloquium to debate the multifaceted issues that lie at the core of scientific creativity.
"Root-Bernstein has written an absorbing, stimulating, sometimes infuriating book, full of entertaining ideas, and everyone interested in science and its ways will benefit from reading it." --Walter Gratzer, "Nature"
"Root-Bernstein marshals good arguments...The odds are astronomical against one book's sundering the entire bureaucratic structure of science. But Root-Bernstein has lifted his hammer high to try for a good slam." --Marcia Bartusiak, "New York Times Book Review"
"[Root-Bernstein] has written extensively on the subject of creativity, and here he draws together his extensive thinking on the subject. The result is an intriguing and extraordinarily important book...It is a work of great insight and sweep, and it should be the manifesto of great changes in education and science." --Lee Dembart, "Los Angeles Times"
"This highly original and imaginative book, in which the author masterfully marshals a dazzling array of evidence on behalf of his arguments, is by no means easy reading or suitable for browsing. However, anyone who is interested in discovering the roots of scientific creativity and in learning how this important but poorly understood phenomenon can be encouraged and fostered and who is willing to invest the time and effort to follow Root-Bernstein's exposition, will find this book most rewarding and thought-provoking." --George B. Kauffman, "Journal of Chemical Education"
Prologue: on fact and fiction. Part 1 Preparations - toward a science of science: Jenny's notebook - impish ideals; Imp's journal - dissatisfactions; Jenny's notebook - the problem area defined; Imp's journal - who cares?; Jenny's notebook - dinner with Hunter; transcript - courting novelty (Bertollet); Jenny's notebook - the arts of scientists. Part 2 Day one - the problem of problems: Imp's journal - discovering a problem; transcript - how does science grow?; Jenny's notebook - implications, contradictions; transcript - what's worth investigating?; Imp's journal - dogma denied. Part 3 Day two - planning or chance?: Imp's journal - alternative hypotheses; transcript - planning (Pasteur); Jenny's notebook - personal knowledge; transcript - chance (Pasteur); Jenny's notebook - the eye of the mind; Imp's journal - surprises. Part 4 Day three - logic of research, surprise of discovery: Imp's journal - competition; Jenny's notebook - the body is part of the mind; transcript - the probability of discovering (Fleming); Jenny's notebook - patterns in mind space; transcript - the fun of discovering (Fleming); Imp's journal - unexpected connections. Part 5 Day four - creating unity from diversity: Imp's journal - thematum; transcript - modeling the process (van't Hoff); Jenny's notebook - falsification; transcript - global thinking (van't Hoff); Jenny's notebook - renewing old knowledge. Part 6 Day five - insight and oversight: Imp's journal - illumination; Jenny's notebook - patterns on paper; transcript - insight and oversight (Arrhenius); Jenny's notebook - modeling illumination. Part 7 Day six - complementary perspectives: Jenny's notebook - asymmetry and fault tolerance; transcript - reports; Ariana's report - who discovers, how? - personality and the art of science; transcript - discussion; Constance's report - history and philosophy of science in science; transcript - discussion; Richter's report - the evolution of science; transcript - discussion; Hunter's report - obstacles and inducements to exploratory research; transcript - discussion; Imp's report - manual of strategies for discovering; transcript - discussion. Part 8 Postscript: Imp's journal - ambiguities; Jenny's notebook - conclusions are questions.