LISTEN: Ignorance & Failure: Why Science is So Successful (Free Drinks, Fast Science)
Speaker: Professor Stuart Firestein
Tuesday, March 29th, 2016
Listen to audio from the talk:
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“It is very difficult to find a black cat in a dark room,” warns an old proverb. “Especially when there is no cat.”
This, according to Professor Stuart Firestein, is an appropriate metaphor for the practice of science. While many may view science as a set of absolute truths, anyone who has spent time in a lab knows that scientists fail more often than they succeed and ask more questions than they answer. And that’s what makes science work so well.
Join us to hear Professor Firestein discuss his recent books Ignorance: How it Drives Science and Failure: Why Science is So Successful. Learn how informed ignorance leads to more important questions, and how meaningful failure drives discovery. Professor Firestein will also address how we can fix the popular misconception of scientists as successful know-it-alls – by dramatically reforming science education.
Stuart Firestein is the chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University, where he has been a faculty member since 1993. As a professor of neuroscience, Firestein oversees a laboratory whose research is dedicated to unraveling the intricacies of the mammalian olfactory system. He is an adviser for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s program for the Public Understanding of Science and Technology and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.