Can Science Be Creative?
Can scientific research be creative and how can funding agencies ensure that it is? Geoff Watts asks Professor David Delpy, head of the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, what he is doing to stimulate and recognise original, innovative research. Professor Delpy also describes his own career path, from inventing the anti-cancer bra to leading a 800 million pound-per-year agency.
Is science open to new ideas, or does the peer review process only fund and publish work that supports the status quo and the vested interests of the reviewers? Geoff meets Don Braben, a visiting lecturer at UCL and former science impresario, who thinks that a percentage of the nation's science budget should go to supporting 'blue skies' research that is not focused on any recognised goal. He sees scientific freedom as a basic human need.
Geoff also meets writer and inventor Anne Miller, who has published a book on 'how to get your ideas adopted (and change the world)'. It is something she is clearly quite good at herself, with 39 patents to her name and a claim to be Britain's most prolific female inventor. But what's the secret? How can scientists and inventors become more creative?
The programme also features creativity and innovation from the past, as Geoff heads to the Science Museum in London to sample their Centenary Journey trail around the 10 exhibits proposed by curators as the most iconic exhibits in the museum. Visitors and listeners can vote for their choice at the museum or on its website.