A Curious Mind W(o/a)nders

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Timeless Wisdom... from Feynman

What should we teach people about science?
"I think we should teach them wonders and that the purpose of knowledge is to appreciate wonders even more."

What is understanding?
"Test it this way: You say, 'Without using the new word which you have just learned, try to rephrase what you have just learned in your own language.' [If] you cannot [then] you learned nothing except the definition.... To learn a mystic formula for answering questions is very bad."

What is the first principle that must guide a scientist?
"You must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.... I'm talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you're maybe wrong.... One example of the principle is this: If you've made up your mind to test a theory ... you should always decide to publish it whichever way it comes out. If we only publish results of a certain kind, we can make [any] argument look good. We must publish both kinds of results."

What is unique about science?
"Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers of the preceding generation.... As a matter of fact I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts."

"I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong."


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