‘Ignorance’ Book Review – Scientists Don’t Care for Facts – NYTimes.com

A nice reminder, in science as in life, it is what we don’t know that is interesting, and can drive us forward. Quote:

To explore scientific groping in the dark, Dr. Firestein invites university colleagues from various disciplines to talk to his students about what they don’t know.

“They come and tell us about what they would like to know, what they think is critical to know, how they might get to know it, what will happen if they do find this or that thing out, what might happen if they don’t, about what they didn’t know 10 or 20 years ago and know now, or still don’t know,” he writes. “They talk about the current state of their ignorance.” …

But not all ignorance is valuable, of course. “It has to be really good ignorance, the kind that leads to ever deeper questions,” Dr. Firestein said. “This might make nonscientists more interested in what scientists do — we’re all ignorant together.”

To get a feel for how scientists really think, he offered this advice: Next time you meet a scientist — at a dinner party, at your child’s school, just by chance — don’t ask her to explain what she does. Ask her what she’s trying to figure out.

‘Ignorance’ Book Review – Scientists Don’t Care for Facts – NYTimes.com.


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