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Cycles of Invention and Discovery: Rethinking the Endless Frontier

Venkatesh Narayanamurti Toluwalogo Odumosu

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Harvard University Press
11 November 2016
Industrial applications of scientific research & technological innovation; Engineering: general; History of engineering & technology
Cycles of Invention and Discovery offers an in-depth look at the real-world practice of science and engineering. It shows how the standard categories of basic and applied have become a hindrance to the organization of the U.S. science and technology enterprise. Tracing the history of these problematic categories, Venkatesh Narayanamurti and Toluwalogo Odumosu document how historical views of policy makers and scientists have led to the construction of science as a pure ideal on the one hand and of engineering as a practical (and inherently less prestigious) activity on the other. Even today, this erroneous but still widespread distinction forces these two endeavors into separate silos, misdirects billions of dollars, and thwarts progress in science and engineering research. The authors contrast this outmoded perspective with the lived experiences of researchers at major research laboratories. Using such Nobel Prize-winning examples as magnetic resonance imaging, the transistor, and the laser, they explore the daily micro-practices of research, showing how distinctions between the search for knowledge and creative problem solving break down when one pays attention to the ways in which pathbreaking research actually happens. By studying key contemporary research institutions, the authors highlight the importance of integrated research practices, contrasting these with models of research in the classic but still-influential report Science the Endless Frontier. Narayanamurti and Odumosu's new model of the research ecosystem underscores that discovery and invention are often two sides of the same coin that moves innovation forward.
By:   Venkatesh Narayanamurti, Toluwalogo Odumosu
Imprint:   Harvard University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 156mm,  Width: 235mm,  Spine: 20mm
Weight:   408g
ISBN:   9780674967960
ISBN 10:   0674967968
Pages:   144
Publication Date:   11 November 2016
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Venkatesh Narayanamurti is the Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy and the Founding Dean of the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. Toluwalogo Odumosu is Assistant Professor of Science, Technology, and Society and Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Virginia.

Reviews for Cycles of Invention and Discovery: Rethinking the Endless Frontier

In this convincingly argued book, Narayanamurti and Odumosu one of them with decades of experience in research management and the other with a deep understanding of science and technology studies explain why the false distinction between basic and applied science has led to profoundly wasteful policy decisions. Their insights also lead to excellent, practical suggestions for change. Cycles of Invention and Discovery is a must-read for research managers, science policymakers, and everyone concerned with the future of innovation.--Ruth Schwartz Cowan, author of A Social History of American Technology


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