Sunday, September 27, 2009

Imagination in Science

I believe that scientists tap into the transcendental force for inspiration much like artists, musicians, writers and mystics.

In Approaches to Social Enquiry, Blaikie quotes, "The transition from data to theory requires creative imagination. Scientific hypotheses and theories are not derived from observed facts, but invented in order to account for them."

And, "...there can be no set of rules given for the procedure of scientific discovery - a hypothesis is not produced by a deductive machine by feeding experimental observations into it: It is a product of creative imagination, of a mind which absorbs the experimental data until it sees them fall into a pattern, giving the scientific theorist the sense that he [sic] is penetrating beneath the flux of phenomena to the real structure of nature."

And, "...every discovery contains an 'irrational element' or a 'creative intuition' "

And, "Hesse...stressed the role of creative imagination, as well as logic, in the process of scientific discovery."

And, "In all these cases, because causal structures and/or mechanisms had never been observed, it was necessary first to imagine what they might be like, and then to formulate these ideas into some image or model."

Also, in describing the deductive process used by a clinician, Blaikie quotes: "Here there is a rapid reciprocation between an imaginative and critical process."

Daniel Gilbert in Stumbling Upon Happiness notes that imagination is what separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom.

Albert Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."

I see a lovely pattern here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dr. Aurora Jackson's Research Interest

“In 2006, nearly 80% of births to black women under the age of 30 were out of wedlock. For black children, more than half (51%) are in families headed by single-parent mothers. Children in these families have extraordinarily high rates of poverty.”

I heard this during faculty introductions at the orientation - bowled over and thinking about the ramifications for our students. So what do we do?

OMG!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What sounds good and doable during summer vacation, becomes a what-were-you-thinking? in the fall. I don't know how I will keep up with this blog, except that posts will become more brief and concise (except for this one).

I am officially and completely overwhelmed. As a way to cope, I had been avoiding thinking about what being in school would be like (except for the fantasies about the off-shore breezes and marble libraries). I guess I figured that worrying about it wouldn't help. Now I am in it and it has hit me like a really tall wave (I am trying not to be catastrophic - initially, I wanted to call it a tsunami).

I have been affect regulating in full force and the pendulum is swinging far and wide. I feel scared, hopeful, anxious, excited, worried, relieved, stimulated and overwhelmed. I am feverishly (literally, I am fighting a flu bug - please, don't be H1N1) trying to digest all the information and it is making my head hurt.

How could I have prepared better for this experience? I always jump in with both feet and deal with the emotional consequences later. Big emotional consequences. I fear that attending to the emotional factors beforehand will psyche me out of even showing up. Anyway, paddling in the deluge that comes after is pretty scary and I am wondering - there has got to be a better way.

The really good news is that my fantasy about carving out time and space to read, think and write was totally right on. At the orientation, all the professors concured about this. And being asked questions like, what do you want to be expert at? was exhilirating. What will I immerse myself in reading over the next few years? What are my research questions? I am in the right place, doing the right thing.

So far, what has helped me through:
self-talk (it's going to be all right, one reading/assignment at a time, you can do it)
support and reassurance from 2nd year doc students, professors, family, friends, colleagues, and administrators
prayer
airborne
salmon oil
meditation cd's
sleep (sometimes nyquil-induced)
and writing

It's time to get ready for work. Thank God for work and that I have a job.