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Exceptional Creativity in Science and TechnologyExceptional Creativity in Science and Technology

Individuals, Institutions, and Innovations

Edited by Andrew Robinson

Narrated by Dave Clark

Available from Audible

Book published by Templeton Press

In the evolution of science and technology, laws governing exceptional creativity and innovation have yet to be discovered. The historian Thomas Kuhn, in his influential study The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, noted that the final stage in a scientific breakthrough such as Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity—that is, the most crucial stage—was “inscrutable.” The same is still true half a century later.

Yet, there has been considerable progress in understanding many of the stages and facets of exceptional creativity and innovation. In Exceptional Creativity in Science and Technology editor Andrew Robinson gathers together a diverse group of contributors to explore this progress. This new collection arises from a symposium with the same title held at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), in Princeton. Organized by the John Templeton Foundation, the symposium had as its chair the late distinguished doctor and geneticist Baruch S. Blumberg, while its IAS host was the well-known physicist Freeman J. Dyson—both of whom have contributed chapters to the book. In addition to scientists, engineers, and an inventor, the book’s fifteen contributors include an economist, entrepreneurs, historians, and sociologists, all working at leading institutions, including Bell Laboratories, Microsoft Research, Oxford University, Princeton University, and Stanford University. Each contributor brings a unique perspective to the relationships between exceptional scientific creativity and innovation by individuals and institutions.

The diverse list of disciplines covered, the high-profile contributors (including two Nobel laureates), and their fascinating insights into this overarching question—how exactly do we make breakthroughs?—will make this collection of interest to anyone involved with the creative process in any context, but it will be especially appealing to readers in scientific and technological fields.

Andrew Robinson is a former literary editor of the Times Higher Education Supplement in London. He is the author of some twenty-five books in the arts and sciences published by trade and academic publishers, which have been translated into fifteen languages.


“Following a series of outstanding books on various aspects of the history of science, Andrew Robinson has now edited a fascinating work which explores the origins of some of the greatest scientific institutions in the world and their innovations which have changed all our lives and had a remarkable effect in boosting the economies of the countries in which they were developed. While this fascinating story of the complex evolution of great science and its institutions will be of particular interest to the scientific community, given their great importance to all of us for the future it should attract a much broader audience in particular representing education, commerce, and politics. I wish it all the success that it deserves.”

—Sir David Weatherall, FRS, Regius Professor of Medicine Emeritus, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford

“This book is a collection of articles based on a 2008 symposium at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study. Despite serious and systematic investigation, much of the creative process remains inscrutable. Although it is complex, elusive, and resists measurement, analysis, and prediction, it is nonetheless a phenomenon of far-reaching importance, as is evidenced by the contents of this book.”


“Of interest to historians of science and to readers interested in real-life science, technology, scientists, or innovation.”

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University Press Audiobooks