Factors associated with scientific creativity


Rogers Hollingsworth

University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706-1483, USA


Euresis Journal, Volume 2 (2012)  pages 77-112

The study of creativity in science, mathematics, art, and literature is enormously complex. What is defined as creativity varies across fields, as well as across societies and time within specific societies. Creativity at the level of individuals is influenced by personality traits and facilitated or hindered by the social environment. To illustrate these points, this paper focuses primarily on a single but broad area of science: the basic biomedical sciences, which include many fields of biology and chemistry. The analysis focuses on creativity in this area in Britain, France, Germany, and the United States from the late nineteenth century to the present. The main concern of the paper is to advance understanding of personal, institutional, and organizational factors which facilitated individuals making major discoveries in these four countries and across time. The paper also makes soft comparisons with other areas of creativity.