Skimming through the lists of new articles in my RSS reader today, my eyes stopped at one paper in particular. The title, “Genesis of Creativity“, would not have seemed out of place in a psychology text (indeed, there are whole journals devoted to creativity research), but this journal was ACS Nano. I clicked through, thinking that the article was perhaps about the discovery of creativity-inducing nanowires.
In fact, the article was something much less far-fetched but still quite interesting. It was a perspective by James Tour, a chemist at Rice University and recipient of the 2012 ACS Nano Lectureship Award. On the occasion of this honor, Tour felt compelled to think back on the greatest successes from his research career and trace them back to their sources. He starts by recognizing the students and postdocs who did the labwork, of course, but he doesn’t stop there. He profiles three exceptionally creative problem solvers from his lab and asks the question: If the greatest discoveries in nanoscience have come from these brilliant minds, where did the brilliant minds come from?
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