Professor Stuart Firestein is interested in exploring concepts that get a bad rap, such as ignorance and failure, and revealing how they are actually essential to human learning and understanding. His commentary has become especially relevant in tracking the public response to COVID-19. We are used to definitive public health responses, but in the face of a new threat, we have seen the scientific process of messing up, failing, and changing one’s mind play out in real time. This has caused a crisis of trust in some circles, but as Dr. Firestein finds, these intellectual foibles are actually an essential component of the scientific process; the COVID-19 response is just a rare case of them being visible before the public.
Professor Stuart Firestein, Ph.D. is the former chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University, and author of Ignorance: How it Drives Science, and Failure: Why Science Is So Successful.
Next week, Tuesday, November 9 at 2 PM EST, we will be speaking with Larry Lesser, Ph.D., UTEP Distinguished Teaching Professor at The University of Texas at El Paso, whose education work includes connections among math/statistics, Judaism, and music.
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