Sunday, May 11, 2008
Malcolm Gladwell is by far my favorite science journalist, and he has produced yet another fantastically interesting and well-research New Yorker piece. The article is entitled "In the Air: Who says big ideas are rare?". Gladwell takes on a somewhat neglected area of the philosophy and methodology of science, that is, the nature of scientific creativity. He argues, convincingly and at length, that the popular story of the "lone genius" without whom some or another discovery or invention would never have come about is a myth; instead, ideas are "in the air" (hence the title). "The genius," concludes Gladwell, "is not a unique source of insight; he is merely an efficient source of insight".