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.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
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.
By Oliver Schinkten on 10-11-16
As a frustrated science educator, I loved this book. Schools have turned "science" into a large body of facts to memorize. this book does a great job of explaining scientific thinking and the ability to embrace ignorance. Read it!