Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Onward to the Edge

"Science is like a hungry furnace that must be fed logs from the forests of ignorance that surround us. In the process, the clearing we call knowledge expands, but the more it expands, the longer its perimeter and the more ignorance comes into view. Before the discovery of the genome, we did not know there was a document at the heart of every cell three billion letters long, of whose content we knew nothing. Now, having read parts of that book, we are aware of myriad new mysteries. [...] A true scientist is bored by knowledge. It is the assault on ignorance that motivates him -- the mysteries that previous discoveries have revealed. The forest is more interesting than the clearing."

p. 271, Matt Ridley.  Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chromosomes

(It's a servicable metaphor, though a clear-cut forest is hardly picturesque. I give you the Sandwalk instead.   I borrow the post title from Symphony of Science's "Onward to the Edge", which features Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Feynman, and Brian Cox.)

1 comment:

  1. Ignorance and knowledge? I sense a coincidence and connection with my posting about and reading of Voltaire's Candide. Connections between seemingly unrelated tidbits always intrigue me. Thanks for the thought-provoking posting.