Scientists are ignorant

Intense research activities in life sciences, information technologies and urban studies have transformed Vienna into one of the most important European research and development hubs. More than 20 000 scientists perform their ignorant magic in Viennese universities, research institutes and companies and 2.8 billion Euros are invested in research every year. Nine universities, five technical colleges and around 1 300 research institutions shape out the perfect examination environment for … ignorants. And chances are, you are one of them.

Ignorance sounds very drastic? Well, there’s even more: in the world of Google and Wikipedia we have developed  into notorious fact-fetishists very much indifferent to the unknown. We are all the time one-click away from finding out answers to questions we ask ourselves or are asked by our peers, professors, friends and families. Even worse, the educational systems we are exposed to from our earliest days, are diminishing our curiosity. Think about how curious you were with 10 to investigate and learn about the world and how by the end of highschool, the biology class seemed so annoying and all you wanted to do was to pass that final exam and get it over with.

Stuart Firestein: The pursuit of ignorance

There is, however, a very positive side to all this and that’s the case Stuart Firestein makes in his witty TED Talk about the pursuit of ignorance. Professor, neurologist and scientific researcher at the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Columbia, proposes a whole new approach to science, which is indeed defined by ignorance and emphasizes the perils of education in killing our excitement towards discovery. Ignorance fires out knowledge and not the other way around. So, if you are a scientist and want to find out why it is good to be ignorant, we invite you to watch his talk. Enjoy!


Header Image credits: royalty free

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