Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Diane Rehm - Stuart Firestein: "Ignorance: How It Drives Science"

This segment aired last week or so on NPR's the Diane Rehm Show - it's a look at how "beginner's mind" is essential to progress in science. Firestein calls it ignorance, but that is simply another form of not knowing. Firestein's new book, the topic of the show, is Ignorance: How It Drives Science.

Stuart Firestein: "Ignorance: How It Drives Science"

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 
 - (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

“Knowledge is a big subject. Ignorance is bigger...and it is more interesting.” These are the words of neuroscientist Stuart Firestein, the chair of Columbia University’s biology department. Firestein claims that exploring the unknown is the true engine of science, and says ignorance helps scientists concentrate their research. He compares science to searching for a black cat in a dark room, even though the cat may or may not be in there. Firestein's laboratory investigates the mysteries of the sense of smell and its relation to other brain functions. A discussion of the scientific benefits of ignorance.


Stuart Firestein: Chairman of the Department of Biology at Columbia University, professor of neuroscience.

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Read An Excerpt

Reprinted from IGNORANCE: How It Drives Science by Stuart Firestein with permission from Oxford University Press, Inc. Copyright © 2012 by Stuart Firestein.

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