We Don't Talk About What We Know, We Talk About What We Don't Know

Stuart Firestein: The pursuit of ignorance

I really liked this talk. The post title is from his discussion of what scientists do at the end of the day at a conference, when they get together for a beer — they ask questions, and discuss the unknown.

Another paraphrase — Knowing a lot of stuff doesn’t make you a scientist. The purpose of knowing stuff is so you can ask questions. IOW, the whole purpose of learning a body of knowledge is to be able to define what isn’t known. Then you can go off and investigate that.

I also liked that even though he’s in a different field, the talk addressed general issues. There was nothing specific to neuroscience or the life sciences; even though he used examples from neuroscience, the concepts applied to physics (and, I imagine, chemistry). That doesn’t always happen