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Top traits essential for a physicist?

  1. Apr 1, 2012 #1
    What are the top traits that are important for a physicist's ability to contribute (theoretical or experimental)?

    How important of a role does creativity play in theoretical physics?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 1, 2012 #2
  4. Apr 1, 2012 #3
    Arguably, "creativity" plays an important role in all intellectual work, and is more important and easier to achieve the closer you get to the cutting edge of a subject. I don't think that there's anything special about creativity; It's just that the higher your expertise is in whatever it is you work with, the harder it is for people who have a lower level of understanding of the subject to understand how you come up with your ideas, and what it is that you see that they don't, and therefore they think that you're creative. I think one of the most important skills to develop as any kind of intellectual person is the habit of actively and deliberately exploring alternative ideas and their consequences.

    So my answer is: Obsessiveness, curiosity, and playfulness.

    P.S. I'm not a physicist.
  5. Apr 1, 2012 #4


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    Hard work.
    Read "The Creative Habit" by Twyla Tharp
  6. Apr 1, 2012 #5
    Read Great Physicists: The Life and Times of Leading Physicists from Galileo to Hawking for the answer to your question. There's many funny, light hearted stories about the lives of the physicists.

    I vividly remember one about Lord Kelvin: He took out friends on his yacht. Not long after they set sail he ran into the cabin and started working on some "calculations."
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