The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Do you apply The Feynman Technique of answering questions?  (Read 1390 times)

Offline Alan McDougall

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1285
  • Thanked: 14 times
    • View Profile
Feynman Technique

Quote
He Said

"As you study a concept, force yourself to explain it to someone as if they were 5 years old
If you find yourself unable to explain a concept in layman's terms, that means you don't fully understand it and you need to go back and process the concept one more time

The goal is to keep simplifying, as if you were explaining to your child who kept asking "why? why? why?"

This is how I have tried my best to explain a subject or answer a question here , since I joined the forum. I leave out complex equations for those with a more advanced grasp of physics/mathematics than me, but  try to apply the tutorial privately,  to increase my own understanding of applied or theoretical science.

Albert Einstein said something similar such a explaining it to ones unschooled granny?
« Last Edit: 15/06/2016 17:32:38 by chris »


 

Offline Colin2B

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1916
  • Thanked: 123 times
    • View Profile
Re: Do you apply The Feynman Technique of answering question?
« Reply #1 on: 15/06/2016 11:37:24 »
It depends who is doing the asking.
If Evan asked a question I would be very unlikely to use the granny answer - he might tell me where to stuff the eggs.

It is usually easy to determine the level of most questioners and to tailor the response appropriately. Like you I would start by thinking how best to describe a concept at the simplest level - the more fundamental it is the more difficult.

You may have noticed that we get a fair number of pseudoscientists with an axe to grind, usually anti relativity, qm etc. Most are not going to change their mind so they are usually ignored.
 

Offline Alan McDougall

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1285
  • Thanked: 14 times
    • View Profile
Re: Do you apply The Feynman Technique of answering question?
« Reply #2 on: 15/06/2016 11:50:26 »
It depends who is doing the asking.
If Evan asked a question I would be very unlikely to use the granny answer - he might tell me where to stuff the eggs.

It is usually easy to determine the level of most questioners and to tailor the response appropriately. Like you I would start by thinking how best to describe a concept at the simplest level - the more fundamental it is the more difficult.

You may have noticed that we get a fair number of pseudoscientists with an axe to grind, usually anti relativity, qm etc. Most are not going to change their mind so they are usually ignored.

Yes I have noticed that to my extreme displeasure and have started resisting, with great difficulty, the urge to respond to what can only be called stubborn stupidity and personal insults from people who know absolutely nothing about me or my grasp on the fundamentals of physics.

I do not use the ignore opinion, because one might learn from even the most inane posts, but now keep it to myself and let them blather on.

The moderators such as you, are the people to censor them not me!

Regards

Alan
« Last Edit: 15/06/2016 11:56:07 by Alan McDougall »
 

Offline timey

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1303
  • Thanked: 7 times
    • View Profile
    • Patreon
Re: Do you apply The Feynman Technique of answering question?
« Reply #3 on: 15/06/2016 14:08:06 »
It depends who is doing the asking.
If Evan asked a question I would be very unlikely to use the granny answer - he might tell me where to stuff the eggs.

It is usually easy to determine the level of most questioners and to tailor the response appropriately. Like you I would start by thinking how best to describe a concept at the simplest level - the more fundamental it is the more difficult.

You may have noticed that we get a fair number of pseudoscientists with an axe to grind, usually anti relativity, qm etc. Most are not going to change their mind so they are usually ignored.

Whilst those who post on the "New Theories" board may be rendered confused in that despite the obvious invitation within the title of the forum... not to mention the general consensus within the world of theoretical physic's that GR and QM are incomplete, or perhaps even wrong, (see Horizon for examples) and therefore wonder what it is that Colin would require regarding their "axe" and his need of a "change of mind"?

It would indeed be most unscientific to give the impression here on this forum that GR and QM are the be all and end all of physic's...

Colin, you mention "If Evan asked a question"...  What about when Evan answers a question?

Einstein was more on the Applied side. He used mathematical tools to describe how light, gravity and matter interacted in the real world, explaining the somewhat confusing results of previous experiments. His work would be ignored if it didn't accurately describe the experiments of the day; it has only grown in prestige as it has predicted the results of experiments for a century after he wrote it. No-one claims it is "True"; one day, it will probably be relegated to a "useful approximation for weak gravitational fields (like the Solar System)"
« Last Edit: 15/06/2016 14:18:37 by timey »
 

Offline Colin2B

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1916
  • Thanked: 123 times
    • View Profile
Re: Do you apply The Feynman Technique of answering question?
« Reply #4 on: 15/06/2016 14:33:41 »
Whilst those who post on the "New Theories" board may be rendered confused in that despite the obvious invitation within the title of the forum...
I had taken Alan's post to refer to those sections of the forum eg here, where we ask for topics to be posted as science questions.
As Alan knows, we have had examples of people blocking this area with unscientific posts. It prompted us to clarify the forum 'rules' http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=66954.0
 

Offline JohnDuffield

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 488
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile
Re: Do you apply The Feynman Technique of answering question?
« Reply #5 on: 15/06/2016 17:28:02 »
Albert Einstein said something similar such a explaining it to ones unschooled granny?
He is alleged to have said "You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother". I like to think that formulating an explanation for something helps me to understand that something. 
 

Offline chris

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 5336
  • Thanked: 65 times
  • The Naked Scientist
    • View Profile
    • The Naked Scientists
I think Einstein also said of general relativity that it was so simple a 7 year old should understand it. Maybe a 7 year old Einstein...
 
The following users thanked this post: JohnDuffield

Offline Alan McDougall

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1285
  • Thanked: 14 times
    • View Profile
I think Einstein also said of general relativity that it was so simple a 7 year old should understand it. Maybe a 7 year old Einstein...

Arthur Eddington a fellow physicist of Einstein who claimed he understood general relativity, was once asked by a media reporter, that had heard "that only three people on earth really understood the theory of relativity" To which Eddington replied "Who is the other one"?
 

Offline IAMREALITY

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 275
  • Thanked: 10 times
    • View Profile
I would say yes by default, but not intentionally; meaning I didn't know there was a feynman technicque nor thought about my approach within those bounds.  I merely go about things that way because to me that's what simply makes logical sense.  Because anybody can 'know', the point is to 'understand'.
 

Offline timey

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1303
  • Thanked: 7 times
    • View Profile
    • Patreon
Re: Do you apply The Feynman Technique of answering question?
« Reply #9 on: 16/06/2016 13:31:16 »
Whilst those who post on the "New Theories" board may be rendered confused in that despite the obvious invitation within the title of the forum...
I had taken Alan's post to refer to those sections of the forum eg here, where we ask for topics to be posted as science questions.
As Alan knows, we have had examples of people blocking this area with unscientific posts. It prompted us to clarify the forum 'rules' http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=66954.0

Oh alrighty then Colin (humble mumble ;) ... ).   It is true that clear distinction should be made between physic's that are proven, and physic's that are unproven, and that new theories need to be distinguished from current theories...

However, it is rather annoying when physicists arguing upon the "physic's and astronomy" board make the incredibly common mistake of stating such as 'expansion of universe', 'inflation period', and other currently held 'theory' as being the 'absolute theory', and then get uptight with people such as myself for stating otherwise, otherwise being the scientific method.

Currently held theory is not the 'absolute theory', and is quite simply just the best fit we have to observation - so far.

It is just as, if not even more important for the lay person and physicist alike, not only to be portrayed the extent of our considerable knowledge, but that it is portrayed where it is in physic's that this 'actual' knowledge ends...
 

Offline Alan McDougall

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1285
  • Thanked: 14 times
    • View Profile
Re: Do you apply The Feynman Technique of answering questions?
« Reply #10 on: 16/06/2016 14:05:05 »
Whilst those who post on the "New Theories" board may be rendered confused in that despite the obvious invitation within the title of the forum...
I had taken Alan's post to refer to those sections of the forum eg here, where we ask for topics to be posted as science questions.
As Alan knows, we have had examples of people blocking this area with unscientific posts. It prompted us to clarify the forum 'rules' http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=66954.0

Oh alrighty then Colin (humble mumble ;) ... ).   It is true that clear distinction should be made between physic's that are proven, and physic's that are unproven, and that new theories need to be distinguished from current theories...

However, it is rather annoying when physicists arguing upon the "physic's and astronomy" board make the incredibly common mistake of stating such as 'expansion of universe', 'inflation period', and other currently held 'theory' as being the 'absolute theory', and then get uptight with people such as myself for stating otherwise, otherwise being the scientific method.

Currently held theory is not the 'absolute theory', and is quite simply just the best fit we have to observation - so far.

It is just as, if not even more important for the lay person and physicist alike, not only to be portrayed the extent of our considerable knowledge, but that it is portrayed where it is in physic's that this 'actual' knowledge ends...

There is no such thing as "An Absolute theory" where did you pick up that nonsensical expression?

Something that is "Absolute" simply cannot be a theory!
 

Offline JohnDuffield

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 488
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile
Re: Do you apply The Feynman Technique of answering questions?
« Reply #11 on: 16/06/2016 14:07:54 »
I think Einstein also said of general relativity that it was so simple a 7 year old should understand it.
There is a way to explain it simply. IMHO when it's explained properly, it's simpler than you ever thought possible.
 

Offline timey

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1303
  • Thanked: 7 times
    • View Profile
    • Patreon
Re: Do you apply The Feynman Technique of answering questions?
« Reply #12 on: 16/06/2016 14:25:49 »
Whilst those who post on the "New Theories" board may be rendered confused in that despite the obvious invitation within the title of the forum...
I had taken Alan's post to refer to those sections of the forum eg here, where we ask for topics to be posted as science questions.
As Alan knows, we have had examples of people blocking this area with unscientific posts. It prompted us to clarify the forum 'rules' http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=66954.0

Oh alrighty then Colin (humble mumble ;) ... ).   It is true that clear distinction should be made between physic's that are proven, and physic's that are unproven, and that new theories need to be distinguished from current theories...

However, it is rather annoying when physicists arguing upon the "physic's and astronomy" board make the incredibly common mistake of stating such as 'expansion of universe', 'inflation period', and other currently held 'theory' as being the 'absolute theory', and then get uptight with people such as myself for stating otherwise, otherwise being the scientific method.

Currently held theory is not the 'absolute theory', and is quite simply just the best fit we have to observation - so far.

It is just as, if not even more important for the lay person and physicist alike, not only to be portrayed the extent of our considerable knowledge, but that it is portrayed where it is in physic's that this 'actual' knowledge ends...

There is no such thing as "An Absolute theory" where did you pick up that nonsensical expression?

Something that is "Absolute" simply cannot be a theory!

Clearly you are correct, but miss the subtlety.  I'm really not much up for getting into word definition arguments.  I see them as pointless.  My overall meaning is obvious...

I have been thoroughly slated here on the 'physic's and astronomy" board for pointing out that expansion of the universe is only theory.

Theory is theory and should not be portrayed as absolute...
 

Offline Alan McDougall

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1285
  • Thanked: 14 times
    • View Profile
Re: Do you apply The Feynman Technique of answering questions?
« Reply #13 on: 16/06/2016 16:14:36 »
Whilst those who post on the "New Theories" board may be rendered confused in that despite the obvious invitation within the title of the forum...
I had taken Alan's post to refer to those sections of the forum eg here, where we ask for topics to be posted as science questions.
As Alan knows, we have had examples of people blocking this area with unscientific posts. It prompted us to clarify the forum 'rules' http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=66954.0

Oh alrighty then Colin (humble mumble ;) ... ).   It is true that clear distinction should be made between physic's that are proven, and physic's that are unproven, and that new theories need to be distinguished from current theories...

However, it is rather annoying when physicists arguing upon the "physic's and astronomy" board make the incredibly common mistake of stating such as 'expansion of universe', 'inflation period', and other currently held 'theory' as being the 'absolute theory', and then get uptight with people such as myself for stating otherwise, otherwise being the scientific method.

Currently held theory is not the 'absolute theory', and is quite simply just the best fit we have to observation - so far.

It is just as, if not even more important for the lay person and physicist alike, not only to be portrayed the extent of our considerable knowledge, but that it is portrayed where it is in physic's that this 'actual' knowledge ends...

There is no such thing as "An Absolute theory" where did you pick up that nonsensical expression?

Something that is "Absolute" simply cannot be a theory!

Clearly you are correct, but miss the subtlety.  I'm really not much up for getting into word definition arguments.  I see them as pointless.  My overall meaning is obvious...

I have been thoroughly slated here on the 'physic's and astronomy" board for pointing out that expansion of the universe is only theory.

Theory is theory and should not be portrayed as absolute...

If your meaning were obvious, no one would have made a counter argument against it, it would have stood as a correct statement of fact.

While theories are theories, they are based on the best current evidence of possible fact!
 

Offline IAMREALITY

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 275
  • Thanked: 10 times
    • View Profile
Re: Do you apply The Feynman Technique of answering questions?
« Reply #14 on: 16/06/2016 16:30:23 »
Clearly you are correct, but miss the subtlety.  I'm really not much up for getting into word definition arguments.  I see them as pointless.  My overall meaning is obvious...

I have been thoroughly slated here on the 'physic's and astronomy" board for pointing out that expansion of the universe is only theory.

Theory is theory and should not be portrayed as absolute...

I agree with you that your overall meaning was beyond obvious for anyone with even a modicum of intellect, and that the objection was definitely rooted in being just a petty technicality 'gotcha'.

The irony in my saying that, however, and I mean this innocently and with sincerity, is that I wanna request from you to please stop putting the apostrophe in "physic's".  It's just physics man, just physics!  (and yes, I know that's petty, but for some reason it's annoying the bejeezus out of me! lol)
 

Offline timey

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1303
  • Thanked: 7 times
    • View Profile
    • Patreon
Re: Do you apply The Feynman Technique of answering questions?
« Reply #15 on: 16/06/2016 16:51:53 »
If your meaning were obvious, no one would have made a counter argument against it, it would have stood as a correct statement of fact.

While theories are theories, they are based on the best current evidence of possible fact!

Actually theories are based mostly on supposition.  ie: if we state this as being this, then the consequences are as such... The onus is on the 'if'.

If redshift can be viewed as evidence of galaxies retreating away from us then the consequence is an expanding universe.

'If'... There is no 'absolute' evidence of the theory.  Only that there is a mathematical fit.  A mathematical fit that 'is' indeed being held to question by many respected working physicists...

Sometimes it doesn't matter how clear one is, it would seem that some peoples intention is more argument for arguments sake rather than progressive discussion.  The particular discussion I referred to, I simply disengaged from it...  If it's not inquisitive, informative, or humorous, what's the point?
 

Offline timey

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1303
  • Thanked: 7 times
    • View Profile
    • Patreon
Re: Do you apply The Feynman Technique of answering questions?
« Reply #16 on: 16/06/2016 17:00:27 »

I agree with you that your overall meaning was beyond obvious for anyone with even a modicum of intellect, and that the objection was definitely rooted in being just a petty technicality 'gotcha'.

The irony in my saying that, however, and I mean this innocently and with sincerity, is that I wanna request from you to please stop putting the apostrophe in "physic's".  It's just physics man, just physics!  (and yes, I know that's petty, but for some reason it's annoying the bejeezus out of me! lol)

Thanks...

And yes...(chuckle)... I was gonna say thank goodness for my spell checker otherwise there would be a lot more of that, but realise it's the culprit in this case and for some reason is correcting wrongly.  I'll look into it, can't have bejeezers running round on the loose...
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Do you apply The Feynman Technique of answering questions?
« Reply #16 on: 16/06/2016 17:00:27 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums