Scientific Rigor and Creativity

There were many other influences on my career (acknowledged elsewhere). My father was a private forester who stimulated my interest in forestry.  My mother’s family was artistic and encouraged creativity, which I inherited. My marriage in 1974 to Fatma Arf, an engineer from Istanbul, helped me ensure factual bases and rigor in my work and someone from a different background who continuously challenges my assumptions. My father-in-law, Professor Cahit Arf, was a prominent mathematician with a pre-war (World War II) European Education. He encouraged me and reinforced the importance of creativity.  He would say: Many people can master analysis; and people should receive Masters degrees when they accomplish this. The real breakthroughs in science are when creativity is added to analytical rigor (not substituted for it); and this combination is the essence of a PhD. I encouraged this creativity among my PhD students.