The Rise and Decline of Hegemonic Systems of Scientific Creativity
EXCEPTIONAL CREATIVITY, A. Robinson, ed., Templeton Press, Forthcoming
20 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2012
Date Written: May 21, 2012
We analyze scientific creativity at the level of the society by focusing on the rise and decline of creativity at the level of the nation state during the past 275 years. We note outstanding individuals, departments and organizations in the context of the hegemonic science systems they represented and list organizational and institutional factors facilitating and hampering major discoveries. The most highly creative systems of science have been embedded only in those societies that were economic, political, and military hegemons. There has been a succession of scientific hegemons: France, Germany, Britain, and the United States. Scientific hegemons dominated multiple scientific fields and established the standards of excellence in most scientific fields. Their language became the major one used in scientific communication and their scientific elite were the most prominent in the world of science. They attracted more foreign young people for training than any other country. Their scientific culture tended to reflect the society’s culture. We examine factors contributing to each scientific hegemon’s eventual decline and graph their trajectories over time. We examine hindrances to the continued high performance of the US science system and make recommendations for enhancing future performance.
Keywords: scientific creativity, major discoveries, Nobel Prizes, France, Germany, United Kingdom, United States, research organizations, research universities, performance, Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes Dahlem, University of Göttingen, Cambridge University, Cavendish Laboratory, scientific hegemons, decline
JEL Classification: O32, P52, N90, N92, N93, N94
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