Scientists Must Learn to Forget Facts

Like all things of the mind, science is a brittle thing: it becomes absurd when you look at it too closely. It is designed for few at a time, not as a mass profession. But now we have megascience: an immense apparatus discharging in a minute more bursts of knowledge than humanity is able to assimilate in a lifetime. Each of us has two eyes, two ears, and, I hope, one brain. We cannot even listen to two symphonies at the same time. How do we get out of the horrible cacophony that assails our minds day and night? We have to learn, as others did, that if science is a machine to make more science, a machine to grind out so-called facts of nature, not all facts are equally worth knowing. Students, in other words, will have to learn to forget most of what they have learned. This process of forgetting must begin after each exam, but never before. The Ph.D. is essentially a license to start unlearning.


Forgetting the unessential is crucial to surviving information overload.

Folksonomies: internet technology information overload

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Psychology (0.979445): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Mind (0.782784): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Brain (0.735088): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Science (0.702365): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Educational psychology (0.699898): dbpedia | freebase
Cognitive science (0.694748): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
MIND (0.673374): geo

 Voices In the Labyrinth: Nature, Man, and Science
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Chargaff , Erwin (1977), Voices In the Labyrinth: Nature, Man, and Science, Harper San Francisco, Retrieved on 2012-01-31
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: reference


    01 MAY 2013

     Information Deluge

    We are drowning in data. How do we manage it without getting lost?