January 31

Going Mental

Thursday’s Big Idea

Power Thinking

The psychologist Dean Keith Simonton has devoted more than three decades to studying the notion of scientific genius, a phenomenon Simonton says is disappearing from modern science.

The genius scientist is one who engineers novel expertise and provokes momentous leaps. And yet, the giants have already done their work, and we are merely perched on their shoulders, completing their work.

Since existing theories and instruments have already probed "the earliest seconds and farthest reaches of the Universe," Simonton argues that "future advances are likely to build on what is already known rather than alter the foundations of knowledge." 


  1. 1 Is Scientific Genius Extinct?
  2. 2 Where Does Genius Come From?
  3. 3 The Question of Genius
  4. 4 Who Has the Greatest Philoso-fro?
  1. Is Scientific Genius Extinct?

    Is Scientific Genius Extinct?

    Due to arduous competition for limited scientific funds, the pie-in-the-sky ideas that may potentially hide brilliance underneath, are often ignored, abandoned, or simply never undertaken in the first place.

    Read More…
  2. Where Does Genius Come From?

    Where Does Genius Come From?

    Genes and environment don’t determine different quantities of our success (or failure). Instead, they operate together in surprising and complex ways.

    Read More…
  3. The Question of Genius

    The Question of Genius

    Sam Wang debates genius vs. hard work.

    Read More…
  4. Who Has the Greatest Philoso-fro?

    Who Has the Greatest Philoso-fro?

    Philosofro (fi - los - uh -fro): A magnificent hair nebula worn by one of the greatest thinkers of our time.

    Read More…