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Irish researcher launches us edition of Organisation and Scientific Discovery


Irish researcher launches us edition of Organisation and Scientific Discovery

John Dennehy
Prof John Hurley (right) presenting his book to the APS Librarian, Dr Martin Levitt,

At the meeting of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia (APS), 17-20 November 2011 Professor John Hurley presented his US edition of Organisation and Scientific Discovery to the library of the APS. This book outlines research among sixteen Nobel Laureates in science, and suggests a model which may help make discovery in science more likely to occur. This research began in 1996 and has resulted in four textbooks a number of articles and reports, and the earlier edition of the book has been cited widely. The foreword to this edition was written by Dr Baruch Blumberg a Nobel prize-winner in relation to his discovery of the Hep B and C viruses, and the creation of vaccines for both.

Organisation and Scientific Discovery (2011) is constructed in two parts. In the first part, the dynamics of discovery, including the role of method, chance, freedom and philosophy are explored. The second part details the possible role of organisation in relation to the foregoing, and as an important factor in increasing the probability of discovery. It outlines the main organisational processes involved in discovery, including the process of joining a scientific organisation, group processes in science, the management of science, rewards systems and individual and organisational development.

The final chapter is an attempt to bring the findings of this research together and to suggest the way in which the new theoretical framework relating discovery with organisation, which is proposed here, might be tested.

Professor John Hurley joined DCU staff in 1982 shortly after completing his PhD in Nijmegen University in the Netherlands. His first responsibility in the newly fledged university was to set up a system of Faculty and Staff Development and he later moved to the Business faculty. In 1990, he established the highly valued MSc in Work & Organisational Psychology, which continues to provide specialist graduates to enterprise and government to this day.

During his time in the Business School, John increased his research and publications and supervised many research PhD and Masters students. His research focus was originally on Organisational Development but in the early 90’S he began to focus his work on organisational influences on scientific research.

His first study in this area was carried out among 16 Nobel Laureates in science. He visited their labs, conducted both structured and unstructured interviews and eventually proposed a model to explain the circumstances relating to higher probability of research success.

16th January, 2012