22 JAN 2014 by ideonexus

 Other Disciplines Mistake Scientists as having No Imagina...

The whole question of imagination in science is often misunderstood by people in other disciplines. They try to test our imagination in the following way. They say, "Here is a picture of some people in a situation. What do you imagine will happen next?" When we say, 'I can't imagine,' they may think we have a weak imagination. They overlook the fact that whatever we are allowed to imagine in science must be consistent with everything else we know, that the electric fields and the waves we tal...
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When, in reality, they are not allowed to imagine beyond what is reality.

30 DEC 2013 by ideonexus

 The Silos in "Wool"

The silo was something she had always taken for granted. The priests say it had always been here, that it was lovingly created by a caring God, that everything they would ever need had been provided for. Juliette had a hard time with this story. A few years ago, she had been on the first team to drill past 10,000 feet and hit new oil reserves. She had a sense of the size and scope of the world below them. And then she had seen with her own eyes the view of the outside with its phantom-like sh...
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Description of the hints of a world beyond the silos.

24 MAR 2013 by ideonexus

 Imagination Builds On Our Experiences

...you can’t have a storage space that is filled to the brim with boxes. How would you ever come inside? Where would you pull out the boxes to find what you need? How would you even see what boxes were available and where they might be found? You need space. You need light. You need to be able to access your attic’s contents, to walk inside and look around and see what is what. And within that space, there is freedom. You can temporarily place there all of the observations you’ve gathe...
Folksonomies: knowledge imagination
Folksonomies: knowledge imagination
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It works within the confines of what we know and how we can work with that knowledge.

24 MAR 2013 by ideonexus

 Science Requires Imagination

It is surprising that people do not believe that there is imagination in science. It is a very interesting kind of imagination, unlike that of the artist. The great difficulty is in trying to imagine something that you have never seen, that is consistent in every detail with what has already been seen, and that is different from what has been thought of; furthermore, it must be definite and not a vague proposition. That is indeed difficult.
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And it requires even greater imagination than art because you must imagine something that has never been imagined before and imagine it within the rules of all that has come before it.

30 MAY 2012 by ideonexus

 Where Scientific Ideas Come From

No Geologist worth anything is permanently bound to a desk or laboratory, but the charming notion that true science can only be based on unbiased observation of nature in the raw is mythology. Creative work, in geology and anywhere else, is interaction and synthesis: half-baked ideas from a bar room, rocks in the field, chains of thought from lonely walks, numbers squeezed from rocks in a laboratory, numbers from a calculator riveted to a desk, fancy equipment usually malfunctioning on expens...
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Not just study, but long walks, arguments in bars, and all the ways fine art is produced.

28 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Keep Your Dreams Sane

In geology we cannot dispense with conjectures: [but] because we are condemned to dream let us ensure that our dreams are like those of sane men—e.g. that they have their foundations in truth—and are not like the dreams of the sick, formed by strange combinations of phantasms, contrary to nature and therefore incredible.
Folksonomies: empiricism imagination
Folksonomies: empiricism imagination
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In science, conjectures must be sound and not devolve into flights of fancy.

13 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Hypothesis is a Tool for Finding New Facts

Hypothesis is the most important mental technique of the investigator, and its main function is to suggest new experiments or new observations. Indeed, most experiments and many observations are carried out with the deliberate object of testing an hypothesis. Another function is to help one see the significance of an object or event that otherwise would mean nothing. For instance, a mind prepared by the hypothesis of evolution would make many more significant observations on a field excursion...
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It is used to think up new experiments, things to try. Armed with the hypothesis of Evolution, the naturalist has insights into what to look for in fossils and nature.

01 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Speculation Informed by Science is Not the Same as Fantasy

Our search for life elsewhere is not haphazard or random: our knowledge of physics and chemistry and biology equips us to seek out meaningful information about stars and planets vast distances away and to identify planets that are at least possible candidates as hosts for life. There is much that remains deeply mysterious, and it is not likely that we will ever uncover all the secrets of a universe as vast as ours: but, armed with science, we can at least ask sensible, meaningful questions ab...
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We keep our speculations within the realm of the probable. It is imagination, but with rules, which is far more satisfying.

01 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Thinking About Aliens Stretches the Imagination

The virtue of thinking about life elsewhere is that it forces us to stretch our imaginations. Can we think of alternative solutions to biological problems already solved in one particular way on Earth? For example, the wheel is a comparatively recent invention on the planet Earth. It seems to have been invented in the ancient Near East less than ten thousand years ago. In fact, the high civilizations of Meso- America, the Aztecs and the Mayas, never employed the wheel, except for children's t...
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The possible life that could evolve in other environments is an imaginative treasure chest.

(TODO: The wheeled organisms described here appear in the Amber Spyglass by Pullman)