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Topic: How Ignorance Drives Science #3
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Richard Hake

Posts: 1,251
From: Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Registered: 12/4/04
How Ignorance Drives Science #3
Posted: Jul 20, 2013 11:33 AM
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Some subscribers to Math-Teach might be interested in a recent post
"How Ignorance Drives Science #3" [Hake (2013)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: I recently became aware of Stuart Firestein's (2012)
<> "Ignorance: How It Drives Science" at
<> - the introduction is online at

Here Firestein means by "ignorance" (in his own words) "a particular
condition of knowledge: the absence of fact, understanding, insight,
or clarity about something. . . . . . This is knowledgeable
ignorance, perceptive ignorance, insightful ignorance." To most
scientists Firestein's "ignorance" is simply "stupidity" - see e.g.,
the signature quotes.

My own three decades worth of experience as a solid-state physicist
is consistent with Firestein's thesis that "ignorance" (as defined
above and called by scientists "stupidity") drives science - see
e.g., "Early History of High Field Superconductivity: 1930-1967 - A
Tragicomedy in Twelve Acts" [Hake (2011)] at <>
(8.8 MB), especially the Epilogue on page 28, wherein I give quotes
supporting Firestein's thesis by scientists Berlincourt, Brush,
Dyson, and Pippard.

In this post I also give links to further evidence in support of
Firestein's thesis:

A. Three abstracts of discussion-list posts:
a. "Re: Should the History of Science Be Rated X?" [Hake (2012a)] at
b. "Should the History of Science Be Rated X? ADDENDA" [Hake (2012b)] at
<>; and
c. "Can Education Research Be 'Scientific'? What's
'Scientific'? [Hake (2012c)]
at <>.

B. Two books:
a. "Real Science: What it is, and what it means" [Ziman (2000)] at
<>, especially Ziman's statement on p. 183
<> "most scientists would say that
their research is
directed into specific AREAS OF IGNORANCE" - My CAPS.
b. "Out of the Crystal Maze: Chapters from The History of Solid State
Physics" [Hoddeson et al. (1992)] at <>.

To access the complete 17 kB post please click on <> .

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Links to Articles: <>
Links to Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) Labs: <>
Academia: <>
Blog: <>
GooglePlus: <>
Google Scholar: <>
Twitter: <>
Facebook: <>
LinkedIn: <>

"The pace of fundamental advance in physics is set by human
STUPIDITY. The pace is, and always has been, very slow."
- Freeman Dyson (1958), my CAPS

"If we wish to boast of our achievements, let us not point to the
unerring pursuit of truth by a logically faultless thinking machine,
but to the astonishing way in which truth can be caused to emerge
from the toils of error and STUPIDITY."
- A.B. Pippard (1977), my CAPS

REFERENCES [URL shortened by <> and accessed on 19 July 2013.]
Hake, R.R. 2013. "How Ignorance Drives Science #3" online on the
OPEN! Net-Gold archives at <>. Post of 19 Jul
2013 16:06:12-0700 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to
the complete post are being distributed to various discussion lists
and are also on my blog "Hake'sEdStuff" at <>
with a provision for comments.

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