Scientific and Technological Thinking

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Michael E. Gorman
L. Erlbaum, 2005 - Education - 368 pages
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At the turn of the 21st century, the most valuable commodity in society is knowledge--particularly new knowledge that may give a culture, company, or laboratory an adaptive advantage. Knowledge about the cognitive processes that lead to discovery and invention can enhance the probability of making valuable new discoveries and inventions. Such knowledge needs to be made widely available to ensure that no particular interest group "corners the market" on techno-scientific creativity. Knowledge can also facilitate the development of business strategies and social policies based on a genuine understanding of the creative process. Furthermore, through an understanding of principles underlying the cognitive processes related to discovery, educators can utilize these principles to teach students effective problem-solving strategies as part of their education as future scientists.

This book takes the reader out onto the cutting edge of research in scientific and technological thinking. The editors advocate a multiple-method approach; chapters include detailed case studies of contemporary and historical practices, experiments, computational simulations, and innovative theoretical analyses. The editors attempt a provocative synthesis of this work at the end.

In order to achieve true scientific and technological progress, an understanding of the process by which species are transforming the world is needed. This book makes an important step in that direction by leading to breakthroughs in the understanding of discovery and invention.

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About the author (2005)

Michael E. Gorman is a Professor in the Division of Technology, Culture and Communications at the University of Virginia, where he teaches courses on ethics, invention, discovery, and communication. His research interests include experimental simulations of science, described in his book Simulating Science (1992) and ethics, invention and discovery, described in his book Transforming Nature (1998). With support from the National Science Foundation, Gorman has created a graduate concentration in systems engineering in which students create case-studies involving ethical and policy issues; these studies are described in Gorman, M.E., M.M. Mehalik, and P.H. Werhane, Ethical and environmental challenges to engineering. (2000). He is currently working on the role of moral imagination in the formation of interdisciplinary trading zones.

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