Scientific and Technological Thinking

Scientific and Technological Thinking

Scientific and Technological Thinking

Scientific and Technological Thinking

Synopsis

At the turn of the 21st century, the most valuable commodity in society is knowledge--particularly new knowledge that may give a culture, company, or laboratory an adaptive advantage. Knowledge about the cognitive processes that lead to discovery and invention can enhance the probability of making valuable new discoveries and inventions. Such knowledge needs to be made widely available to ensure that no particular interest group "corners the market" on techno-scientific creativity. Knowledge can also facilitate the development of business strategies and social policies based on a genuine understanding of the creative processes. Furthermore, through an understanding of principles underlying the cognitive processes related to discovery, educators can utilize these principles to teach students effective problem-solving strategies as part of their education as future scientists. This book takes the reader out onto the cutting edge of research in scientific and technological thinking. The authors advocate a multiple-method approach; chapters include detailed case studies of contemporary and historical practices, experiments, computational simulations, and innovative theoretical analyses. The editors attempt a provocative synthesis of this work at the end. In order to achieve true scientific and technological progress, an understanding of the process by which species are transforming the world is needed. This book makes an important step in that direction by leading to breakthroughs in the understanding of discovery and invention.

Excerpt

This volume is the product of a workshop on cognitive studies of science and technology that was held at the University of Virginia in March 2001. the goal of the workshop was to assemble a diverse group from a variety of fields, including graduate students and junior and senior faculty, to discuss the latest research and to generate ideas for the future of “Cognitive Studies of Science and Technology. ” the workshop was made possible through the generous support of the National Science Foundation, the Strategic Institute of the Boston Consulting Group, and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance.

The chapters in this volume (except chap. 14) are authored by workshop participants. They describe recent developments and discuss ongoing issues in the study of the cognitive processes of discovery and invention. Building on our workshop discussions, we have developed a conceptual framework that we hope will help to clarify the current state of the field and to spawn new ideas for future investigation. For readers interested in the original papers and authors, and the lively discussion that occupied much of the workshop, all of this material was recorded live in digital format. It can be shared, with permission of the original participants, via the workshop Web site at http://repo-nt.tcc.virginia.edu/cogwkshop/. For a brief description of our deliberations, see the following chapter: Gorman, M. E., Kincannon, A., and Mehalik, M. M. (2001). Spherical horses and shared toothbrushes: Lessons learned from a workshop on scientific and technological thinking. in K. P. Jantke and A. Shinohara (Eds.), Discovery science (pp. 74–86). Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag.

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