How to Achieve in Science

Topic: How to Achieve in Science:

Jeff Friedman:  Well, there are a lot of things one has to- a lot of attributes one has to have I think to be good at science and I’ve been thinking recently about what’s the most important one. I think the one thing that you cannot be missing is persistence and determination and a drive. I think I am fairly driven and determined and I think typically whatever happens I get up and move forward. I think you have to have ideas. You have to be able to think expansively about things and not get locked on to a particular idea or conventional wisdom. I also think you have to recognize a good opportunity when you see it. I think the idea in the public on the part of some is that sort of the key thing in being a scientist are your ideas, the new idea you have. The fact that in my- in what I do though is that ideas are actually relatively cheap. You have ideas all the time. People have lots of ideas. Ideas are floating around. I think the really critical point is deciding which idea you’re going to focus on because you can’t do everything. For example, a lot of people thought it would be a good idea to clone ob but not that many people decided that they would make the commitment to it that it ended up taking so I think the notion of trying to figure out what the ob gene is is something that’s been around for 50 years.

Question: Is our society scientifically literate?


Jeff Friedman:  I’m not really in a great position to judge. I have served on some committees that began to think about this. I think that what these- what some people is that you want to get- to breed scientists you want to get away from high-stakes tests and really cultivate people’s originality and individual thinking. That’s a very hard thing to implement because everyone is so different when it comes to that, and so I don’t have any great solutions other than to say that any means for instilling in people the sense of excitement one can have about discovering something, even if it’s not new and even if it’s just discovering it for yourself, sensing some truth that wasn’t evident to you before, can be as exciting if it’s already been done and you simply learn about it after the fact as it is to learn about it for the first time.


Dr. Jeff Friedman on the functions of a scientifically literate society.

Live on Monday: Does the US need one billion people?

What would happen if you tripled the US population? Join Matthew Yglesias and Charles Duhigg at 1pm ET on Monday, September 28.

Universe works like a cosmological neural network, argues new paper

Controversial physics theory says reality around us behaves like a computer neural network.

Credit: sakkmesterke
Surprising Science
  • Physicist proposes that the universe behaves like an artificial neural network.
  • The scientist's new paper seeks to reconcile classical physics and quantum mechanics.
  • The theory claims that natural selection produces both atoms and "observers".
Keep reading Show less

Learn innovation with 3-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn

Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America with three Michelin stars, joins Big Think Live.

Big Think LIVE

Having been exposed to mavericks in the French culinary world at a young age, three-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn made it her mission to cook in a way that is not only delicious and elegant, but also expressive, memorable, and true to her experience.

Keep reading Show less

We studied what happens when guys add their cats to their dating app profiles

43% of people think they can get a sense of someone's personality by their picture.

Photo by Luigi Pozzoli on Unsplash
Sex & Relationships

If you've used a dating app, you'll know the importance of choosing good profile pics.

Keep reading Show less

Should you grow a beard? Here's how women perceive bearded men

Whether or not women think beards are sexy has to do with "moral disgust"

Photo Credit: Frank Marino / Unsplash
Sex & Relationships
  • A new study found that women perceive men with facial hair to be more attractive as well as physically and socially dominant.
  • Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength, social assertiveness, and formidability.
  • Women who display higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, are more likely to prefer hairy faces.
Keep reading Show less

Quarantine rule breakers in 17th-century Italy partied all night – and some clergy condemned the feasting

17th-century outbreaks of plague in Italy reveal both tensions between religious and public health authorities.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Coronavirus

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts between religious freedom and public health regulations have been playing out in courts around the world.

Keep reading Show less
Quantcast