Idea Generator for Scientists
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Method A:   Explaining advanced concepts to a child
One of the most noted among cognitive and educational psychologists of the twentieth century, Jerome S. Bruner, formerly head of Harvard's Institute of Cognitive Studies, wrote in The Process of Education that any idea, concept or theory can be taught in intellectually respectable form to any child, at any age level, provided that one puts it to him in the child's own conceptual vocabulary. Not many have risen to that challenge, though in this past half-century Bruner's Dictum seems never to have been refuted.

Something of the sort may well be true. One of the intellects I most respect begins her exploration of any new field by first reading the children's literature on that topic and then going on from there. She finds that this immediately makes key relationships readily apparent to her which otherwise would not be.

In any event, the same data portrayed in a medium unfamiliar to you results in different secondary awarenesses and associations being evoked for you. I presume that a child-directed exposition of your own field is a medium somewhat less than familiar to you.

Whether or not Bruner's Dictum is literally true, for the purpose here it doesn't matter. The purpose here is to find a fresh way to look at your own field of work and generate fresh insights and new hypotheses for testing.

Think of a reasonably bright but not necessarily precocious eight-year-old child, real or imaginary. Get that child as real to you as possible, a specific person rather than an abstraction or a general class. (You might even, for at least brief intervals, teach directly to an actual child, give him or her a leg up on future studies, let the feedbacks you experience enter into your direct and indirect and subtle perceptions of your own work.)

To that child, real or imaginary, begin teaching the most basic precepts of your field — in ways that make sense for that child. If you are convinced that key areas of your field are counter-intuitive, fine:  make them make sense anyway for that child to understand. Your reach to do so will instruct your own understanding and perception. As you go, pick up on as many as possible of the secondary thoughts and associations, fleeting impressions and stray notions as this occasions for you — some of these contain the keys to your own breakthroughs!


Method B:  Correcting a brashly speculative student.
As you go through the remarks below, especially the naive speculations contained in the student's letter, some things will occur to you — perhaps only to correct the naivete of those speculations. Once even the most trivial-seeming or unrelated — especially the seemingly unrelated — association comes to mind, start Freenoting and sustain the flow in that context for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Then breathe deeply, and recharge further on in the letter. The 40 to 60 minutes of fierce flow-writing is a small price to pay for 10 to 100 major new hypotheses in your own field, most of which will withstand scientific testing!

Helpful hint:   Particular objections and explanations and associations related to specific points will usually work better than blanket rejections, in terms of generating more insights in your professional field. Treat the author of the letter as a very brash student needing your most patient tutelage, but most important is to be alert to and pick up on your own momentary associations as they flash by while you do this. If nothing occurs to you, which is unlikely, you can get yourself started by Freenoting on all the reasons why you don't want to do this procedure. Even that will work, so long as you follow the above rules.

Please have a Freenoting pad at hand (as per the above instructions). Try to notice and capture each stray associated thought which comes along as you start to address the student's naive babble. Freenote on it for a forced 5 to 10 minutes as extensively as possible, and see if one or more of these Freenotes don't move you onto some fresh and useful ground.

I want to enable you, by whatever means feasible, to make further breakthroughs in your work, in addition to, or in parallel with, our other procedures such as Image-Streaming, High Thinktank , and the advanced inventing and discovering procedures found in the book Discovering the Obvious.

We present a series of questions from a hypothetical student who is speculating wildly on a wide range of scientific conundrums and earnestly needs your explanations. How would you make these subjects understandable to this student? His letter to you is in a separate exhibit. Click on "letter" to view it now.

Now as you patiently try to instruct the babbler of the above porridge into something which makes sense even to him, be alert to the sidebands and "stray thoughts" which occur along the way, and Freenote upon each.....

Also, at points along the way, you will do well to:

You can also give a call to our professional phone-coach in Image-Streaming, George Copsey, at 328-252-8552 or contact him by email. His website is Curiosity Coach.

Like the very different procedures in the book Discovering the Obvious, this "Freenoting assault on good sense" is a shortcut way to get to many good new hypotheses to test. If you've followed the rules of Freenoting with this, you now have some good hypotheses to define and to take to the next step.

It may be best that you get your breakthroughs safely published before letting on to too many colleagues, or to the public, what first suggested them to you. Of the many points you can arrive at via these routes, many or most can be put to verification through empirical or mathematical grounds and, as with Kekule, this should be what people first see, at least until our culture and our subculture of science become more rational.

People learned of Einstein's notions in physics before they learned of his "Deep Thought" discovery experiments through which he learned them and through which he sought to demonstrate them. In the very long run, I will appreciate some references, getting more already-powerful minds into use of resources like these, and of the procedures in Discovering the Obvious.

Image-Streaming   |   High Thinktank

Another, shorter stimulus
Here is another possible line of attack for you. Sometimes a simple question can start one's thinking and perceiving in new directions, even conventionally, and this one can, moreover, be put to Image-Streaming or High Thinktank.

We know what acts as a limit on the size of stars: the bigger ones become blue giants and burn up quickly, and probably the biggest ones short-cut the whole process and implode into black holes without much of an evolution, so there aren't any or many of these around. But....

Question One:   What limits the upper size of galaxies? (I don't believe I've seen any statement in print, or otherwise, about the limiting speed of light as a factor on orbiting mass around super-sized galactic cores, or any such, besides that speed of light gets a bit slippery around event horizons.) Here the Galaxy in Andromeda is about 100 times our own Milky Way's mass, and I gather that the upper range is around 150 times our Milky Way's mass, out of all the hundreds of millions of galaxies within current range of our telescopes....

Question Two:   Both stars and galaxies are fractals — a generally or widely recognized relationship — but what precisely defines and forms either as a form of Mandelbrot Set? (Can the specifics of that, even as a speculation, bring other awarenesses into view?)

Question Three:   Universe-as-standing-wave quantum context:  If stars and galaxies are in effect "standing waves," or at least harmonics of standing waves expressed at the frequencies which generate atomic matter and sub-atomics, what does this characterization bring into awareness for you?

Feel free both to answer accurately and to speculate, and even to answer foolishly. And let us know only those which make sense to you afterwards, so you don't have to edit until you've fully examined what has come out....

Have fun!

Sidenote: Wanted — scientists in other fields to generate speculative texts like that brash student's letter but in their own fields, so that specialists in every field can be provoked by this site into creative new breakthroughs. Needed in each field would be a rambling, speculative text perhaps as naive as this one but with some recognizable chance of a speck of meaningful advanced truth being embedded somewhere in the context. Please advise. Identities protected, as we've protected the identity of the recipient of the letter above. Would you be willing to do a speculative splash in your specialty, similar to that in the letter, under a nom de plume? And be as free as possible it's a few (and you don't know which few!) of those unedited notions which will lead on to greater things!
Method C:  Team Brainstorming
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