Summary

Knowledge is a big subject, says Stuart Firestein, but ignorance is a bigger one. And it is ignorance - not knowledge - that is the true engine of science. Most of us have a false impression of science as a surefire, deliberate, step-by-step method for finding things out and getting things done. In fact, says Firestein, more often than not, science is like looking for a black cat in a dark room, and there may not be a cat in the room. The process is more hit-or-miss than you might imagine, with much stumbling and groping after phantoms. But it is exactly this not knowing, this puzzling over thorny questions or inexplicable data, that gets researchers into the lab early and keeps them there late, the thing that propels them, the very driving force of science.
Firestein shows how scientists use ignorance to program their work, to identify what should be done, what the next steps are, and where they should concentrate their energies. And he includes a catalog of how scientists use ignorance, consciously or unconsciously - a remarkable range of approaches that includes looking for connections to other research, revisiting apparently settled questions, using small questions to get at big ones, and tackling a problem simply out of curiosity. The book concludes with four case histories - in cognitive psychology, theoretical physics, astronomy, and neuroscience - that provide a feel for the nuts and bolts of ignorance, the day-to-day battle that goes on in scientific laboratories and in scientific minds with questions that range from the quotidian to the profound. Turning the conventional idea about science on its head, Ignorance opens a new window on the true nature of research. It is a must-read for anyone curious about science.
©2012 Stuart Firestein (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Show More Show Less

Regular price: £19.39

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
Select or Add a new payment method

Buy Now with 1 Credit

By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Buy Now for £19.39

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.
No Reviews are Available

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Abrar Mahmud on 23-07-18

Ignorant Bliss

This audio book was extremely informative and the case studies were amazing! Definitely worth it

Read more Hide me
5 out of 5 stars
By corridor5 on 28-03-18

It turns out, I’m not dumb at all

At last there is a well written, easily understood, and pleasantly performed explanation that enables my previously thought shameful ignorance. Dumb is different from ignorant. I can proudly wear an “ignorance banner,” as I don’t know a lot of things, but I’m seeking after understanding—and, asking a lot questions. Thank you, Mr. Firestein.

Read more Hide me
See all reviews