The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman

By Richard P. Feynman; Jeffrey Robbins | Go to book overview

8
What Is Science?

What is science? It is common sense! Or is it? In April 1966 the master teacher delivered an address to the National Science Teachers' Association in which he gave his fellow teachers lessons on how to teach their students to think like a scientist and how to view the world with curiosity, open-mindedness, and, above all, doubt. This talk is also a tribute to the enormous influence Feynman's father--a uniforms salesman--had on Feynman's way of looking at the world.

I thank Mr. DeRose for the opportunity to join you science teachers. I also am a science teacher. I have too much experience only in teaching graduate students in physics, and as a result of that experience I know that I don't know how to teach.

I am sure that you who are real teachers working at the bottom level of this hierarchy of teachers, instructors of teachers, experts on curricula, also are sure that you, too, don't know how to do it; otherwise you wouldn't bother to come to the Convention.

The subject "What Is Science?" is not my choice. It was Mr. DeRose's subject. But I would like to say that I think that "What Is Science?" is not at all equivalent to "how to teach

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