By LINUS PAULING
The nature of the world of today has been greatly changed during recent centuries as a result of scientific discoveries. Every aspect of our lives--the food we eat, the clothes we wear, our methods of communication and transportation, the ways of waging war, the conduct of relations between nations--each of these has been revolutionized by the discoveries made by scientists. Even our philosophical attitude toward the world as a whole has been changed, in ways of fundamental significance to the understanding of the nature of man in relation to his environment. Hence everyone who lives in the world needs to have some understanding of the nature and effects of science.
The creative scientist lives in order to enrich our world by increasing our understanding of it. Many scientific discoveries, perhaps most of the significant ones, represent feats of imagination, insight, and originality closely similar to those involved in creative work in such fields as art and music. I recently read a statement, made by a worker in the humanities, that "Clearly the humanities deal with the creative and imaginative aspects of man's personality." I myself, as a scientist, might, because of my familiarity with the moments of discovery in science, be tempted to say that it is science that deals with the creative and imaginative aspects of man's personality, but of course this statement, like the preceding one, is too restrictive--there are many ways in which the creative and imaginative aspects of man's personality find expression.
It is for the moments of discovery that a creative scientist lives. When the idea of the theory of relativity appeared in Einstein's mind, the discovery was made--he had then only to work
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Publication information: Book title: Moments of Discovery. Volume: 1. Contributors: George Schwartz - Editor, Philip W. Bishop - Editor. Publisher: Basic Books. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1958. Page number: v.
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