Uri Alon: Why truly innovative science demands a leap into the unknown

Uri Alon: Why truly innovative science demands a leap into the unknown

While studying for his PhD in physics, Uri Alon thought he was a failure because all his research paths led to dead ends. But, with the help of improv theater, he came to realize that there could be joy in getting lost. A call for scientists to stop thinking of research as a direct line from question to answer, but as something more creative. It’s a message that will resonate, no matter what your field.

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12 replies
  1. Troy Gardner
    Troy Gardner says:

    yay for play … this cements a debate i've been having on a kickstarter launch on how much to talk about the cloud of confusion

  2. don220486
    don220486 says:

    Not a bad talk, Uri has a few thought provoking ideas here. He does however elude to something of particular importance regarding creativity and that is the role of the arts and imagination in stimulating creative thoughts and actions. Einstein played a musical instrument and apparently loved the music of Mozart. He is also reported to have said that his breakthrough ideas came not as a direct result of mathematical rigour or scientific formulae, but from imagination, playful postulation and playing/listening to music. It reminds me of the limited power of the conscious mind versus the vastly powerful subconscious mind.

  3. Clayton M
    Clayton M says:

    Great talk! whenever I do math homework I struggle with, even though I was taught the process to do it, I always feel frustrated while doing it. "In the cloud" to put it in these terms. And it motivates me to try harder until I get the answer right. 

  4. 2ndToshikoIsBack
    2ndToshikoIsBack says:

    I'm at a really difficult point of my research right now, where it seems like nothing is working or will work. I am well and truly in the cloud. But even knowing theres a definition for what i'm feeling makes me feel better. This talk was inspirational to me and made me feel better. Thank you for this.

  5. WeAreAllThereIs
    WeAreAllThereIs says:

    Every scientist should learn the philosophy and realization of chaos. This cloud that Uri Alon realized as a fact of nature and psychology is the force of chaos in the reality we live in

  6. Jordan Scarabel
    Jordan Scarabel says:

    I've had the chance to talk to a fair few people at my university doing PhDs, they've been scaring me with their dead-ends. I've always viewed these dead-ends as brick walls, but this talk has really relieved me going on to do my PhD, I like the idea of having a less cynical and motionless approach to research.


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