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Where Do Ideas Come From?

Abraham Loeb: How could we cultivate an environment that nourishes ideas? The recipe starts with creating a culture that encourages informal questioning and inquiry, tolerates mistakes and promotes innovation. For example, the Socratic method of dialogues — which encouraged critical thinking and challenged authority — led to a rich literature of insights in philosophy and ethics, and is suitable also to science. But even fertile soil cannot guarantee blossoming vegetation without seeds. How could we seed an academic environment with ideas? Ideas often originate from dialogues in which an individual hears about a challenge and recognizes a new path for solving it. It is therefore crucial to create a space in which challenges are discussed openly and without fear, stimulating new solutions.

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