Signed “James Downey”, the introduction to inno’va-tion: Essays by Leading Canadian Researchers contains an apt description of the ingredients of the research process
While researchers may use highly sophisticated machines, they themselves are subject to the same vagaries of chance experience as the rest of us. Their discoveries are often a unique and unpredictable mix of curiosity, circumstance, skill, and personal reflection.
The celebration of chance is for me akin to the praise of imagination and its highly sophisticated machines. It is the attention to pattern and its manipulations that bring together in my mind the meditation on the work of the researcher with the play of the writer as suggested by Jane Yolen in Touch Magic
Literature, of course, is an unnatural act committed by two consenting individuals — writer and reader. […] Each — writer and reader — helps create the world. The pattern is the book. A fantasy novel is more than an adventure or a quest. Rather it is a series of image-repeating glasses, a hall of mirrors that brings past and future into focus and calls it the present. […] The fantasy novel presents a world of poetry, of dream-making and sometimes of dream-breaking.
To imagine the otherwise, to be aware of chance, to observe carefully: simple practices for complex machines be they of fiction or of the laboratory.
And so for day 428