Ignorance

Ignorance: How It Drives Science
by Stuart Firestein

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.Ignorance

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.

Articles, reviews, interviews, TED Talks, etc. related to the book Ignorance

1. Review (New York Times) To Advance, Search for a Black Cat in the Dark
Sandra Blakeslee
June 18, 2012

2. Interview (NPR — Diane Rehm Show) Stuart Firestein: Ignorance: How It Drives Science
Diane Rehm
May 22, 2012 (51:26 mins.)

3. Interview (NPRWhy Ignorance Trumps Knowledge in Scientific Pursuit
Ira Flatow
June 1, 2012 (22:01 mins.)

4. Video (TED Talk) The Pursuit of Ignorance
Stuart Firestein
February 2013 (18:33 mins.)

5. Video (TEDxBrussels) Ignorance: The Birthplace of Bang
Stuart Firestein
Nov. 14, 2012 (16:29 mins.)

6. Book excerpt (Columbia College) Ignorance: How It Drives Science
Stuart Firestein
Winter 2012-13

7. Review (The GuardianIgnorance by Stuart Fierstein; It’s Not Rocket Science by Ben Miller – review
Adam Rutherford
July 19, 2012