Four Characteristics of the Outstanding Scientist

Arthur Koestler identified four characteristics of the outstanding scientist, but it could be applied to more than just scientists:

  • An oceanic sense of wonder
  • A curious mixture of skepticism and credulous precocity
  • Dual abilities, both to generalize and to concentrate on the particulars
  • Multiple potentials — enough to succeed in any one of several careers

I love the phrase “oceanic sense of wonder.” The ability to generalize seems rarer than the ability to concentrate on particulars.

I spotted this list in James Austin’s interesting book Chase, Chance, and Creativity.

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