Scientists Are Cool

Long Now: Views: Essays: Richard Feynman and The Connection Machine
This is a really good essay by Danny Hillis, one of my favorite people, about Richard Feynman, one of my other favorite people. Hillis gets right to the heart of what makes some scientists the best kind of people. Feynman was incredibly curious, generous, smart, and willing to talk to anybody about anything he knew about. And when you're Richard Feynman, you know a lot about a lot. If more scientists were as open and willing to break things down to explanations "regular" people could understand, we wouldn't have as much of a problem with the sciences as we do. I think people tend to feel dumb when talking about science since anymore we know so much that it's easy to get bogged down in details and complications. I make it a point to talk openly and easily about science with kids so they feel like it's something they can get their arms around and not some far-off thing only people in lab coats can understand. Feynman was the ultimate example of that, somebody who could make anybody understand even things like quantum chromodynamics. Of course, he's also the one who said that if you think you understand quantum mechanics, you're wrong.

Tags: , , , ,