The Importance of Stupidity

Martin A. Schwartz is Professor of Microbiology and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia. The professor draws attention to the importance of stupidity in scientific research in his recent article for Seismological Research Letters – January/February 2011; v. 82; no. 1; p. 3-4. Entitled :

THE IMPORTANCE OF STUPIDITY IN SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH.

“Science makes me feel stupid too. It’s just that I’ve gotten used to it. So used to it, in fact, that I actively seek out new opportunities to feel stupid. I wouldn’t know what to do without that feeling. I even think it’s supposed to be this way.”

“Let me explain.” – continues the professor :

“The more comfortable we become with being stupid, the deeper we will wade into the unknown and the more likely we are to make big discoveries.”

Note : A similar essay was published in the Journal of Cell Science 121, 1771 (2008)

BONUS QUOTE: from Richard Feynman.

“Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”

– from ‘What is Science?’, presented at the fifteenth annual meeting of the National Science Teachers Association, in New York City (1966) published in The Physics Teacher Vol. 7, issue 6 (1969)






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