What is a Systematic Method of Scientific Discovery?

Herbert A. Simon

Creativity in general, and scientific discovery as a particular form of creativity, has always been surrounded by an aura of mysticism. We continue to recount the mystical experiences of Kekule with his benzene ring, or Poincare stepping on the bus at Caen, or Archimedes running naked from his bath, shouting "Eureka!". Attempts to explain discovery in terms of normal thought processes are regretted or even resented as assaults on the mystery. Nevertheless, there is mounting evidence that scientific discovery is explicable - that there is method in the madness of the moment of inspiration or illumination.


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