Ignorance: Why Science Shouldn’t Start with a Hypothesis

Ignorance: Why Science Shouldn’t Start with a Hypothesis

Joy of Science Channel: Extreme Chemistry Series

Knowledge is a big subject.  Ignorance is a bigger one.  The most important outcome of scientific investigation is ignorance – newer, better ignorance. As many papers and books are produced each year in scientific journals, even more ignorance is created.  The nature of a successful experiment is to learn perhaps one new thing and produce at least two new questions.   Join our esteemed experts, Dr. Stuart Firestein and Dr. Darren Griffin in a discussion of why “ignorance is bliss!”



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Click Here for Dr. Firestein’s Slides


What You Will Learn

  • How scientists are using ignorance to guide their experiments
  • Why uncertainty is more important than facts
  • How focusing on the “what remains to be done” can make science more accessible to a lay audience.
  • How we use ignorance to teach science as a creative and engaging activity for students


Webinar Details

Date: Thursday, January 24, 2013

Time: 2:00-3:00 pm ET

Fee: Free


Meet Your Experts

Professor Stuart Firestein teaches Neuroscience and is the Chair of Columbia University’s Department of Biological Sciences, where his laboratory investigates mysteries of the vertebrate olfactory system, the sense of smell.  He has published more than 100 papers in scientific and scholarly journals.  Dedicated to promoting the accessibility of science to a public audience he serves as an advisor for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s program for the Public Understanding of Science.  He was awarded the 2011 Lenfest Distinguished Columbia Faculty Award for excellence in scholarship and teaching and was recently elected as Fellow of the AAAS. His book, Ignorance: How it Drives Science was published in the spring of 2012 by Oxford University Press.



Darren Griffin, PhD is Professor of Genetics at the University of Kent, UK. Previously he was Professor of Genetics at Brunel University. In 2002, he was admitted as a fellow of the Society of Biology and in 2008 he was awarded both a fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists and Doctor of Science from the University of Manchester. He was awarded the Institutional Teaching Prize for his work in supervising graduate students and was recently shortlisted for Research Project of the Year by the Times Higher Education supplement. Dr. Griffin completed his post-doctoral research in Cleveland, Ohio and at The University of Cambridge. He received his PhD at University College London in 1992, graduated from the University of Manchester in 1988.



The Fine Print

ACS Webinars™ does not endorse any products or services. The views expressed in this presentation are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the American Chemical Society.




10 Responses to “Ignorance: Why Science Shouldn’t Start with a Hypothesis”

  1. Brandon says:

    I would love to attend this webinar, however I will be travelling and likely not near a computer. Will this be available to view afterwards assuming I register?

  2. admin says:


    Thank you for your interest in ACS Webinars. All presentations are made available one week after the live date. Please check back on Jan 31st for the recorded presentation and slides at http://acswebinars.org/ignorance

    Thank you and we look forward to seeing you at future ACS Webinars.


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  3. Hosne Begum says:

    I would like to attend some webinar, like this one but I am always in class teaching. From other comment, I just notice that it’s possible to view later when it’s avaiable. Do I need to register still?

  4. admin says:


    Thank you for your interest in ACS Webinars! You do not have to register for a ACS Webinar if you do not want to attend and participate LIVE. You may view the recorded presentation one week after the webinar at http://acswebinars.org/ignorance Thank you!


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  5. Maysoon says:

    I’d love to attend live, but the electricity cuts of frequently and unexpectedly… so I’m not sure I’ll be attending or maybe I’ll be late, although I’m hoping, and praying, it will not be out when the webinar is on.

    this is just to let you know…
    Thanks :)

  6. admin says:


    We will cross our fingers…thanks for letting us know and we hope to see you there!

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  7. Dr. L I Rogness says:

    Questions for which I have no answer. First. Why a would a universe condense out of nothingness in the first place? Second question without an answer. If you were to design a living system like the Earth why would most of its inhabitants survive by killing other inhabitants?

  8. Jim says:

    I am not able to listen to the question discussion (second part) of this webinar. Is it available as well as the first half.

  9. admin says:

    Thank you for your interest in ACS Webinars!

    The Q&A is not available for this webinar recording. We hope you can join us again for future Live ACS Webinars. Thank you.

    ACS Webinars

  10. admin says:

    Dr Rogness:

    Thank you for the thought provoking questions.


    Erik Holderman
    ACS Webinars

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