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Some general thinking strategies

Reformulation
Graphical and Tabular Representation
Logical reasoning
Division into sub-problems
Analogy

PROBLEM

Derive the trend in the behavior of plating adhesion

on a silicon substrate from the measured data as a
function of substrate area and doping level. The
adhesion is measured for 0.5, 1 and 2 cm2 area, and

P+, P, N and N+ doping levels. Each measurement

is repeated twice.

TABLE
(LIST)

Doping

P+
Strength
(106 N / m2)

N+

Area
(cm2)

Expt 1 Expt 2

0.5
1

10
7

10.2
7.2

2
0.5
1
2
0.5
1
2
0.5
1
2

5
8
4.3
3
4.1
4.1
3.9
3
2.9

6
9
4.7
3.1
4.8
5
5.8
3.2
6.1

TABLE (MATRIX)

Area
Doping

0.5 cm2

1 cm2

2 cm2

P+

10

10.2

7.2

P
N
N+

8
4.1
-

9
4.8
-

4.3
4.1
3

4.7
5
3.2

3
3.9
2.9

3.1
5.8
6.1

GRAPH

(106 N / m2)

10
1 cm2

0.5 cm2
6

4
2 cm2

2
0

N+

P+

PROBLEM

How good is a particular classroom teaching

learning process ?

Graphical Representation

Student action
Student question
Student response
Teacher question
Teacher response
Teacher talk

Using chalkboard

Time

Using charts
Using projections
Using multimedia

Teaching-learning Process

Assignment
Find out different ways of graphical representation of data.

Logical Reasoning

How many matches should be played on a knock-out

basis, to decide the winner from among ten teams ?

Tree
1

2 3

4 5

6 7

8 9

10 Teams

Winner

Logical Reasoning
All men are mortal. Rama is a man. So, Rama is a mortal.
To decide a winner from among 10 teams, 9 teams
have to be eliminated.

Every match eliminates 1 team.

Hence, 9 matches need be played for eliminating
9 teams.

To decide a winner from among n teams, n-1 teams

have to be eliminated.

Every match eliminates 1 team.

Hence, n-1 matches need be played for eliminating
n-1 teams.

PROBLEM

Why is the computer down ?

Analysis
= Representation
+ Division into sub-problems
+ Logical reasoning

UPS

Analogy
An analogy enables a look at a situation as an
inter-related whole.
Analytical approach on the other hand dismembers
a whole into parts, and may destroy the attributes
which may pertain to the phenomenon as a whole.
Problems are solved and creative works are generated

through analogy

Electromagnetic wave Matter wave

Solar system Atomic structure

Prescriptions

Practice, Organization and Motivation

Creativity is a skill which can be developed by PRACTICE.
Conscious application is needed, not the vagaries of
inspiration, in order to achieve a creative output.

Creativity is a matter of ORGANIZING ones basic skills,

not regretting that one was not born with a quick or

logical mind.

MOTIVATION is recognized as a crucial factor in the

development of creativity.
High but not the highest intelligence, combined with the
greatest degrees of persistence, will achieve greater
eminence than the highest degree of intelligence with
somewhat less persistence.

[Cox, 1926]

Learn Different Solutions to the Same Problem

Example: calculation of
= 22
22 < < 4 (square), 3 < < 23 (hexagon)
/ 4 = Tan-1 1 = (x x3/3 + x5/5 x7/7 + .) at x = 1

Buffons needle experiment

= 2 x (total drops) / (no. of hits)

Learn Different Solutions to the Same Problem

Assignment
Find four different proofs of Pythagorus theroem, using
internet search or otherwise.

Solve a problem by different strategies

Whenever faced with a problem, apply the various
strategies suggested to see what kind of solution
results from each strategy. [The strategies include
reformulation, graphical representation, logical
reasoning, division into sub-problems and analogy].

Document analogies as and when you

come across them

Assignment
Describe at least two analogies you have come across

Note Keeping
Noting ideas as they occur
- helps you to remember them
- focuses attention on your subject
- stimulates cross-fertilization of ideas

If you do not record your ideas you will spend all

your mental energy trying to resurrect old ones.

Have an open mind

An open mind - is receptive to alternate points of view, regardless

of the present level of commitment to a belief.

- acknowledges areas of common ground with those
who hold alternate beliefs, and allows dialogue with

someone with opposing views without attacking the

proponent of those views.

MORE PRESCRIPTIONS ..
Arrange and rearrange what you read or hear, from
different points of view.
Allow opportunities for cross-fertilization of ideas
so as to generate new problems.
- interact: discuss, answer doubts, teach, explain.
- Set aside time to read in other disciplines, keeping

track of what others are doing that seems original.

- if possible, work in areas outside of areas we are

Problem Solving vs Problem Finding

Students are used to well-defined problems having a
single solution. They are uncomfortable with ill-defined
problems.
Finding a problem
is harder but more essential than solving it
is as much a students responsibility as that of the guide.
A problem must spring from a researchers mind like a
plant springing from its own seed.

Problem Finding

It is better to kill a little problem than to bruise a much

larger one.
Do not worry too much whether your problem is the best
one to study. Once you go deep, any problem becomes
interesting. The important thing is to get started.

Getting Started
Ideas strike by chance, but only to a prepared
mind
an observation which is too insignificant to attract
the attention of a common man.

To prepare the mind, do the following cyclically

- Implementing someone else's work
- Thinking (in partial ignorance)

Attributes of Research Problems

Difficulty
Value or usefulness

Originality
Is it interesting (does it deny commonly held assumptions ?)
Significance / impact (all the above and more)
Cost / equipment / cooperation

Summary
At the end of this lecture, we are now able to
describe different ways of thinking
describe ways in which one can develop thinking

and generate ideas

Summary
As per psychology, thinking is a skill that can be developed

through practice.
The requirements for creativity are a strong motivation
and an open mind, not high intelligence.

Learning about different ways to a problem and visualization

of the world in terms of analogies, are two ways of nurturing
creativity.

Summary
Various strategies of solving problems include:

reformulation, graphical representation, division

into sub-problems and logical reasoning.