What is the Role of Creativity in Science?

  • July 20, 2019

Science is considered to be a rational thing. It is based on studies and facts. Creativity, on the other hand, is something concerned with vision and imagination. It explores the artistic side of human beings. So, many of us believe that there can be no connection between creativity and science. Are you sure? Well, some of you may be surprised that there is a link between science and creativity. Today let us explore this aspect of the connection between creativity and science and try to find the answer to the question “what is the role of creativity in science?”

Creativity is not just the domain of artists:

When we speak about a creative person we think about a famous painter or we might think about that beautiful composition from a renowned poet. Does that mean that the design engineers who come out with the latest car engine are not creative? Does that mean that the cell biologist who is trying to find a solution for increasing the longevity of certain cells is not creative?  We need to change our thought process. We have to understand that science is not just a collection of facts but it has a creative edge to it.

The science connection of creativity:

Creativity is coming up with an idea which is new and which will help in finding a solution to a particular problem. So we can say that creativity does have a role to play in science. Many scientists have come up with the best discoveries and inventions just because they were able to think out of the box. In the case of scientific experiments the way the data is interpreted, how the students understand the scientific importance of the experiment is very important.

Science is a journey that can never end:

Science is a journey in which the explorer tries to get more knowledge about the real world. The explorer tries to get answers to questions that still have no answers. Here he has to try out trial and error methods to find answers to scientific facts that currently look like mysteries. For this, he needs to have a creative mindset which is able to think beyond the imagination of normal human beings. It is a creative quest that has challenges and adventures.

The role of associative thinking in solving scientific problems:

There are examples where scientists who used associative thinking and adhered to a creative thinking process were able to find solutions to some of the most complex problems. It is when you let your mind think about something totally unrelated thing you are likely to find a solution to the scientific problem. When you are wondering about what is the role of creativity in science? Remember that some of the greatest discoveries were made due to the creative thinking of the scientist.

A clear link between creativity and science:

If you read about the great scientist Einstein you will realise that he was an unconventional scientist. He played the violin and was a romantic person. Now, these seem to be the attributes of an artist but we all know that he was one of the greatest scientists whose scientific discoveries were based on not just knowledge but also on imagination. Keep in mind that Archimedes Eureka moment came in the bathtub and an apple helped in the discovery of Newton’s law of gravity.

Use of creativity in the classrooms:

Now there is no need to ask the question what is the role of creativity in science? Because only creative minds can explore the unexplored horizons of science. Our budding scientists are there in the classrooms and if we want to have the best mathematicians, biologist and physicist then we have to focus on these classrooms. The emphasis has to be on problem-based learning. The students have to be encouraged to think in an unconventional manner and find a solution to the problem. The students have to be encouraged to ask questions and they must also be encouraged to not shy away from making mistakes.

It is also important to understand that scientific creativity and artistic representation of science are two different things. It is not drawing a figure to explain a principle but it is thinking in an artistic way to find a solution to a scientific problem. Creative thinking in science can help in a big way to have a better understanding of the mysteries of the earth and the universe.

If we want our next generation to be well prepared to find answers to the different scientific mysteries then we have to encourage them to be more involved in thinking in a creative fashion. There have to be brainstorming sessions in the classrooms where the students understand how they can creatively understand science. Different science fairs are also organised with this same intention. It is one of the ways to create future Einstein.

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