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  • The Debate

    The Eureka Moment

    Scientific advance is a roll call of eureka moments. Can they be planned? Does the institutional character of big science research militate against these critical imaginative leaps? Should we encourage the outsider, and break the system of peer review in an attempt to create more eureka moments, or does good science require a strong establishment?

    The Panel

    Independent scientist Rupert Sheldrake, theoretical physicist David Berman and Oxford philosopher James Wilk question the role of freedom in science.

  • Find out more about speakers

Jump to what you want to see in the debate
  • James Wilk
    The Pitch
    Oxford philosopher argues mavericks must out-manoeuvre the establishment
  • David Berman
    The Pitch
    Theoretical physicist argues for innovation through the establishment
  • Rupert Sheldrake
    The Pitch
    Independent scientist hails mavericks as the moving force behind science
  • The Debate
    Theme One
    Does the scientific establishment stifle innovation?
  • The Debate
    Theme Two
    Should science be more democratic?
  • The Debate
    Theme Three
    How should science funding be allocated?
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EinenMomentBitte on 05/03/2013 5:08pm

Rupert Sheldrake is quite the independent scientist! I agree with him when he is talking about the eureka moments in history - 'in the C19th discovery happened freely because scientists were not part of these huge establishments' - and how the landscape has now changed whereby 'it is only through community that science develops'. However, he is suspiciously like a vagabond when he goes on to talk later about the rather specialist topic of telepathy(!) remarking that this taboo subject is privately sympathised with but publicly renounced by scientists. I don't want to discount this area of research but it would be better for the scientific community if concrete evidence were to be discussed and engaged with here rather than speculation. As an aside, quite funny that David Berman asks the audience if they have experienced telepathy and then says he can't get into a debate about it because he's not an expert!

Sojournee on 25/10/2012 1:06pm

James Wilk makes an excellent point. In what way are scientific advances, even those within the establishment, seen as 'not maverick'? Each new model or proven theory must displace another from its pedastal. As Isabel notes toward the beginning of the video 'science advances one funeral at a time'. Does the distinction of being outside or inside the establishment really matter?

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