Creativity and Intuition
Hideki Yukawa, the Japanese theoretical physicist and Nobelist, has written a provocative book of essays including personal memoirs and thoughts on peace. He unselfconsciously discusses his inspiration for doing science with all of the beauty and contradictions inherent in the subject. Straight away let us understand that Yukawa states that he achieved his inspiration and insight from reading the early Chinese philosophers from Confucius to Lao Tzu and Chuangtse. It is “well known” that these philosophers are in fact anti-scientific. He speaks of romance, imagination, the world of fancy, the value of defeat, and the utilization of fables. Do these terms apply to science? That they do is an experimental fact as witness Yukawa’s ability to utilize them in conceiving his pioneering work in elementary particles—his prediction of the meson. All new ideas must be proven and Yukawa had to wait 12 years for final confirmation.