Narratives Change After the Fact - Deepstash

Narratives Change After the Fact

Narratives of scientific discovery get polished after the fact.

  • Newton was an old man when he told his friend, William Stukeley, that his thinking on the nature of gravity "was occasioned by the fall of an apple, as he sat in contemplative mood." The adage of "the apple fell on his head" came with time, but is not historically correct.
  • Archimedes did have a eureka moment while he lowered himself in the bath, but the part that he streaked across Syracuse is probably not true.

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MORE IDEAS FROM How 'Eureka' Moments in Science Happen

Famous Eureka Moments

The falling apple has caused physicist Isaac Newton to formulate his laws of gravity. Archimedes took a bath and figured out how to calculate volume and density.

Anna Marie Roos, a historian of science, advises us to take these eureka moments with a grain of salt. However, she thinks they give insight into the creative process.

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Eureka stories happen when decades of work get compressed into one inspirational moment.

The stories of Newton and Archimedes point to the need to quiet the mind and be contemplative. The falling apple and gravity, and overflowing bathtub and specific gravity show us that creativity needs space. Creative ideas often occur when scientists allow themselves to play.

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The 'Eureka' moment

Eureka moments may seem unpredictable and unreplicable. But there are ways to coax these inspired ideas from their hiding places. One of the best is to take a break from thinking about a problem or dilemma.

They are linked to the story of Archimedes and the gold crown ( when he realized while taking a bath that he can use displaced water to assess the density of the king's crown and, therefore, its gold content).

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A Eureka moment, also known as that "Aha!" moment, is that sudden realisation that you found a solution to a problem.

Eureka loosely translates to "I have found it!" It is that sudden clarity you feel at solving a puzzle or understanding a problem. Eureka moments appear out of nowhere when you are not consciously thinking about the problem.

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Creative Thinking: Destiny or Development?

Creative thinking requires our brains to make connections between seemingly unrelated ideas.

Nearly every person is born with some level of creative skill and the majority of our creative thinking abilities are trainable.

Creativity is a skill that can be improved, let's talk about why—and how—practice and learning impacts your creative output.

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