We think that scientific inspiration is a really important element of understanding STEAM, one of the causes we champion at iOi and Imagination Matters. It’s so vital that we make room for creativity in science, not only to theorise, but to solve problems as well. Science can and should be the subject of of creative thinking; it’s only on the level playing field of STEAM that we will truly integrate the arts and sciences.
I don’t know why it took so long to dawn on me – after 20 years of a scientific career – that what we call the “scientific method” really only refers the second half of any scientific story. It describes how we test and refine the ideas and hypotheses we have about nature through the engagement of experiment or observation and theoretical ideas and models.
But something must happen before this. All of this process rests upon the vital, essential, precious ability to conceive of those ideas in the first place. And, sadly, we talk very little about this creative core of science: the imagining of what the unseen structures in the world might be like.
We need to be more open about it. I have been repeatedly saddened by hearing from school students that they were put off science “because there seemed no room there for my own creativity”. What on earth have we done to leave this formulaic impression of how science works?