The Rise and Decline of Hegemonic Systems of Scientific Creativity

EXCEPTIONAL CREATIVITY, A. Robinson, ed., Templeton Press, Forthcoming

20 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2012

See all articles by J. Rogers Hollingsworth

J. Rogers Hollingsworth

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of History; University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

David Matthew Gear

University of Wisconsin - Madison Department of History

Date Written: May 21, 2012

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Hollingsworth, J. Rogers and Gear, David Matthew, The Rise and Decline of Hegemonic Systems of Scientific Creativity (May 21, 2012). EXCEPTIONAL CREATIVITY, A. Robinson, ed., Templeton Press, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2080318

J. Rogers Hollingsworth (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of History ( email )

5814 Cable Avenue
Madison, WI 53705
United States
6082332215 (Phone)
8662400904 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.history.wisc.edu/hollingsworth/

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) ( email )

7811 Eads Ave # 404
La Jolla, CA 92037
United States
8584569947 (Phone)
8662400904 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.history.wisc.edu/hollingsworth/

David Matthew Gear

University of Wisconsin - Madison Department of History ( email )

Box 4014
Room 5228 Mosse Humanities Bldg
Madison, WI 53706
United States
6082332215 (Phone)
8662400904 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.history.wisc.edu/hollingsworth/

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