Let me be a seeker of knowledge, let me travel uncharted paths, and let me use my creativity to make the world a better place in which to live.

That was the Pledge that we used to recite when I was a school-age participant in the Odyssey of the Mind program. I was reminded of this recently, thinking about creativity in the context of science.

Science in some ways is all about creativity, but creativity is also present and (perhaps even more) important in many other fields. Judging by the Wikipedia page on that subject, I obviously know little about the theory or history of the concept of creativity.

at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland But what I do know is that I’ve always wanted to put some creativity into my science and scientific writing. What I’ve learned in ~15 years in the scientific enterprise, though, is that creativity is not always well-received. I’ve made up (slightly) fanciful names for experiments, procedures, or reagents that I designed, only to have those details removed along the way. I’ve had unconventional phrasings or word choices expurgated from research articles. Given my junior position, I went along with this flattening of my creativity…but always wanted to be in a position to express myself a little more fully. (I say this with the caveat that there is ample room for creativity in experimental design and other aspects of science—it just doesn’t feel like you’re “scratching” the “creativity” itch.)

So, while science is nothing if not seeking for knowledge (after all, “science” is from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge"), I still believe strongly in the rest of the OM Pledge as well. I want to use that knowledge to explore the “uncharted paths” and have a chance to be “creative” as I strive to make the world “a better place. “

This website is a place for me to engage those creative faculties. And explore everything from my own scientific work to science stories of interest to the general public. I really hope you enjoy reading some of my musings.


©2012 K.S. MacLea, Ph.D.