Thoughts on Creativity

Jacob Bronowski

What kind of "personality" does a scientist have to have to be "successful"?

  • divergent
  • convergent

What is the essential tension and why does Kuhn believe it can be and is reconciled in order to produce advancements in science? How is education responsible for the predominance of divergent scientists in America and of convergent scientists in general?


  • first rate
  • second rate

Consider the following interpretation by Jacob Bronowski, "The Creative Process," in Scientific Genius and Creativity, W.H. Freeman and Company, 1987

On p.3, Bronowski states, nonscientists would claim "Science . . . engages only part of the mind - the rational intellect - but creation must engage the whole mind. . . . Science demands none of that groundswell of emotion, none of that rich bottom of personality, which fills out the work of art. . . ."

Bronowski takes exception: "This picture of the nonscientist of how a scientist works is of course mistaken. A gifted man (sic) cannot handle bacteria or equations without takng fire from what he does and having his emotions engaged." Emotions may be immature, as intellect may be immature in poets (re: Emma Wheller Wilcox), but the work of such a scientist will be "second-rate."

The consummate scientist is neither second-rate nor "useful and commonplace."

Bronowski writes:

. . .There are in my laboratory of the British National Coal Board about 200 industrial scientists - pleasant, intelligent, sprightly people who thoroughly earn their pat. It is ridiculous to ask whether they are creators who produce works that could be compared with Othello. They are men with the same ambitions as other university graduates, and their work is most like the work of a college department of Greek or of English. When the Greek departments produce a Sophocles, or the English departments produce a Shakespeare, then I shall begin to look in my laboratory for a Newton.