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Ignorance

Author: Stuart Firestein
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199939330
Size: 25.43 MB
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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.

Ignorance

Author: Stuart Firestein
Publisher: OUP USA
ISBN: 0199828075
Size: 70.30 MB
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Contrary to the popular view of science as a mountainous accumulation of facts and data, Stuart Firestein takes the novel perspective that ignorance is the main product and driving force of science, and that this is the best way to understand the process of scientific discovery.

Ignorance

Author: Stuart Firestein
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199828083
Size: 68.57 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
View: 5769
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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.

Failure

Author: Stuart Firestein
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 019939010X
Size: 16.99 MB
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"The pursuit of science by professional scientists every day bears less and less resemblance to the perception of science by the general public. It is not the rule-based, methodical system for accumulating facts that dominates the public view. Rather it is the idiosyncratic, often bumbling search for understanding in mostly uncharted places. It is full of wrong turns, cul-de-sacs, mistaken identities, false findings, errors of fact and judgment-and the occasional remarkable success. The widespread but distorted view of science as infallible originates in an education system that teaches nothing but facts using very large, very frightening textbooks, and is spread by media that report on discoveries but almost never on process. It is further reinforced by politicians who pay for it and want to use it to determine policy and therefore want it right and, worst of all, sometimes by scientists who learn early on that talking too much about failures and not enough about successes can harm their careers. Failure, then, is a book that seeks to make science more appealing by exposing its faults. In this sequel to Ignorance, Stuart Firestein shows us that scientific enterprise is riddled with failures, and that this is not only necessary but good. Failure reveals how science got its start, when humans began to use a process-trial and error-as a kind of recipe that includes a hefty dose of failure. It gives the non-scientifically trained public an insider's view of how science is actually done, with the aim of making it accessible, comprehensible, and entertaining."--Publisher description.

It S Not Rocket Science

Author: Ben Miller
Publisher: Sphere
ISBN: 0748128506
Size: 36.50 MB
Format: PDF
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The Top Ten Bestseller Black holes. DNA. The Large Hadron Collider. Ever had that sneaking feeling that you are missing out on some truly spectacular science? You do? Well, fear not, for help is at hand. Ben Miller was working on his Physics PhD at Cambridge when he accidentally became a comedian. But first love runs deep, and he has returned to his roots to share with you all his favourite bits of science. This is the stuff you really need to know, not only because it matters but because it will quite simply amaze and delight you. 'Let me show you another, perhaps less familiar side of Science; her beauty, her seductiveness and her passion. And let's do it quickly, while Maths isn't looking' Ben Miller 'This book makes climate change actually seem interesting. Not just important - it's obviously important - but interesting. As a result I bought lots of other books about climate change, something I now regret' David Mitchell Ben Miller is, like you, a mutant ape living through an Ice Age on a ball of molten iron, orbiting a supermassive black hole. He is also an actor, comedian and approximately one half of Armstrong & Miller. He's presented a BBC Horizon documentary on temperature and a Radio 4 series about the history of particle physics, and has written a science column for The Times. He is slowly coming to terms with the idea that he may never be an astronaut.

Ignorance

Author: Robert Graef
Publisher: Prometheus Books
ISBN: 1633883213
Size: 46.41 MB
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Sums up the many fields of study where ignorance can undermine our understanding, while showing how an awareness of ignorance can lead to exploration and the discovery of new knowledge. The flip side of knowledge is ignorance. This book explores the vast scope of ignorance, even in an age when we think we know more than ever before. By marking off this ocean of ignorance into manageable categories, the author provides a kind of navigational chart to the unknown, and a series of red flags to all those who claim certitude. The book first lays out the many branches of ignorance--in education, the media, politics, religion, science, and other major institutions. It then assesses the costs and consequences of that ignorance. World conflicts, endemic poverty, environmental damage, waste, racism, and the manipulative forces of industry and politics that use propaganda to manipulate the public may all be seen as rooted in ignorance. But there are positive aspects of ignorance as well. Scientists and artists, by recognizing what they don't know, are spurred on to new creative approaches and discoveries, which would never be found by those too comfortable with the tried and true. The author cites Socrates, whom the Delphic Oracle declared to be the wisest of all people simply because he realized how much he didn't know. This book gives you ways to follow in the path that Socrates forged, to counter the closed minds whose false sense of certainty cannot help but distort reality, and to be better prepared to take on even the most serious challenges of today.

The Island Of Knowledge

Author: Marcelo Gleiser
Publisher: Basic Civitas Books
ISBN: 0465031714
Size: 75.88 MB
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A natural philosophy expert who is also a physics and astronomy professor discusses the limits of scientific explanations and how our knowledge of the universe and its nature will always remain necessarily incomplete. 15,000 first printing.

The Why Of Things

Author: Peter V. Rabins
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231535457
Size: 37.12 MB
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Why was there a meltdown at the Fukushima power plant? Why do some people get cancer and not others? Why is global warming happening? Why does one person get depressed in the face of life's vicissitudes while another finds resilience? Questions like these—questions of causality—form the basis of modern scientific inquiry, posing profound intellectual and methodological challenges for researchers in the physical, natural, biomedical, and social sciences. In this groundbreaking book, noted psychiatrist and author Peter Rabins offers a conceptual framework for analyzing daunting questions of causality. Navigating a lively intellectual voyage between the shoals of strict reductionism and relativism, Rabins maps a three-facet model of causality and applies it to a variety of questions in science, medicine, economics, and more. Throughout this book, Rabins situates his argument within relevant scientific contexts, such as quantum mechanics, cybernetics, chaos theory, and epigenetics. A renowned communicator of complex concepts and scientific ideas, Rabins helps readers stretch their minds beyond the realm of popular literary tipping points, blinks, and freakonomic explanations of the world.

I Don T Know

Author: Leah Hager Cohen
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1594632391
Size: 15.59 MB
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A short, concise book advocates for honoring doubt and admitting when the answer is: "I don't know."

Understanding Ignorance

Author: Daniel R. DeNicola
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262341042
Size: 24.97 MB
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Ignorance is trending. Politicians boast, "I'm not a scientist." Angry citizens object to a proposed state motto because it is in Latin, and "This is America, not Mexico or Latin America." Lack of experience, not expertise, becomes a credential. Fake news and repeated falsehoods are accepted and shape firm belief. Ignorance about American government and history is so alarming that the ideal of an informed citizenry now seems quaint. Conspiracy theories and false knowledge thrive. This may be the Information Age, but we do not seem to be well informed. In this book, philosopher Daniel DeNicola explores ignorance -- its abundance, its endurance, and its consequences. DeNicola aims to understand ignorance, which seems at first paradoxical. How can the unknown become known -- and still be unknown? But he argues that ignorance is more than a lack or a void, and that it has dynamic and complex interactions with knowledge. Taking a broadly philosophical approach, DeNicola examines many forms of ignorance, using the metaphors of ignorance as place, boundary, limit, and horizon. He treats willful ignorance and describes the culture in which ignorance becomes an ideological stance. He discusses the ethics of ignorance, including the right not to know, considers the supposed virtues of ignorance, and concludes that there are situations in which ignorance is morally good. Ignorance is neither pure nor simple. It is both an accusation and a defense ("You are ignorant!" "Yes, but I didn't know!"). Its practical effects range from the inconsequential to the momentous. It is a scourge, but, DeNicola argues daringly, it may also be a refuge, a value, even an accompaniment to virtue.