New concepts in science result from the process of attempting to overcome specific problems, and Professor Nancy Nersessian's Creating Scientific Concepts (CSC) takes a process-focused approach, providing a gold mine of information for those interested in scientific and technological advance, or any of the many related specialty disciplines. The arguments made represent a critical milestone toward my goal: the development of a practice standard for managing creation of revolutionary science & technology paradigms, so I'm hardly a neutral reviewer.
Nersessian explains the birth of new scientific understanding, some times in laser-sharp detail and at other times with a broad strokes, such as where issues arise from "the creative reasoning practices of scientists for which cognitive research is not yet sufficient to explain."
CSC is an erudite, compelling journey through profound discoveries in physics not merely pointing to dates and useful discoveries, but actually into the minds of the researchers working to solve problems. We see the evolutionary history of scientist's concepts through their journals, correspondence, and notes. Readers investing the effort to grapple through the dense information-to-paragraph ratio will be rewarded by gaining key understanding of how conceptual models serve imaginative scientific progress. Stock up on post-it notes and get a low-bleed pen for margin scribbling.
Professor Nersessian's investigations identify 3 types of resources used in the scientific problem-solving process:
These resource types are utilized in conceptual change during experimental observation and mathematical analysis in which 3 mental tools & techniques are integrated to produce creative solutions. These tools and techniques are:
> synthesizing analogies,
> representative imagery, and
> thought experiments
I liked that the author describes processes translatable into the lexicon of global standards from the Project Management Institute, which was developed for best managing change examples:
> Model Construction --> Initiating & Prototyping
> Abstraction --> Planning
> Simulation --> Controlling & Executing
> Evaluation --> Monitoring & Closing
Despite the edition's overly thin & smooth paper, (making rapidly flipping to p134 for Newton's Principia illustration a pain), these 251 pages of brilliance remain a useful reference; Admittedly, this page stock makes the book very portable.
CSC is a fabulous companion (sequel?) to "The Cognitive Structure of Scientific Revolutions" (CSSR). CSC includes many references to CSSR, which together provide an up-to-date and sufficiently deep understanding of the fascinating process of scientific creativity advancing the forefront of technology and human knowledge.
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