49 Matching Annotations
  1. Jan 2023
    1. “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction.” E.F. Schumacher
    2. https://fs.blog/feynman-learning-technique/

      Published: 2021-02-22T12:59:36+00:00

  2. Dec 2022
    1. Good teachers need to have the context of the student to know what level of explanation they need to give to satisfy the curiosity of the learner. (Also a potential reason that online programmatic learning is difficult as having the appropriate context to skip portions is incredibly hard to do with computers.)

      General rule of thumb: The levels of the depth of explanations provided are generally proportional to the levels of understanding achieved.

      Further understanding requires additional questions, research, and work.

    2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8Xaw72ESdA

      According to researcher Danny Hatcher, the "Feynman Technique" was coined by Scott H. Young in the August 22, 2011 YouTube video Learn Faster with The Feynman Technique and the subsequent 2022-09-01 article Learn Faster with Feynman Technique, ostensibly in a summarization of Gleick, James (1992). Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-679-40836-3. OCLC 243743850.

      The frequently quoted Einstein that accompanies many instances of the Feynman Technique is also wrong and not said by Einstein.

      The root Einstein quote, is apparently as follows:

      that all physical theories, their mathematical expressions apart ought to lend themselves to so simple a description 'that even a child could understand them.' —Ronald W. Clark, p418 of Einstein: His Life and Times (1972)

    1. Duolingo or whatever French and I had this idea well basically what it reminds me of is Stefan's Vig the Austrian

      https://youtu.be/r9idbh-U2kM?t=3544

      Stefan Zweig (reference? his memoir?) apparently suggested that students translate authors as a means of becoming more intimately acquainted with their work. This is similar to restating an author in one's own words as a means of improving one's understanding. It's a lower level of processing that osculates on the idea of having a conversation with a text.

      tk: track this reference down. appropriate context?

    1. you’ll spend the beginning phases learning by readingbooks in brand new fields and noting down brand new ideas. You’ll mostlybe writing reformulation notes in this phase.

      Yet another new name for a sub-type of notes, here he uses reformulation notes as a shorthand for the old advice to rewrite ideas you find in your own words. This advice is often suggested to accomplish two things: - avoid plagiarism - restatement of ideas in your own words is related to the Feynman Technique and assists one in learning and ensuring they understand the concepts

  3. Nov 2022
    1. Diseases don’t have to follow rules.

      Reminds me of something Carl Sagen said - I think it was Sagen though might have been Feynman - in the context of quantum physics, that the universe is under no obligation to observe our rules, or something like that.

    1. “In order to talk to each other, we have to have words, and that’s all right. It’s a good idea to try to see the difference, and it’s a good idea to know when we are teaching the tools of science, such as words, and when we are teaching science itself,” Feynman said.

      Maths, Logic, Computer Science, Chess, Music, and Dance

      A similar observation could be made about mathematics, logic, and computer science. Sadly, public education in the states seems to lose sight that the formalisms in these domains are merely the tools of the trade and not the trade itself (ie, developing an understanding of the fundamental/foundational notions, their relationships, their instantiations, and cultivating how one can develop capacity to "move" in that space).

      Similarly, it's as if we encourage children that they need to merely memorize all the movements of chess pieces to appreciate the depth of the game.

      Or saying "Here, just memorize these disconnected contortions of the hand upon these strings along this piece of wood. Once you have that down, you've experienced all that guitar, (nay, music itself!) has to offer."

      Or "Yes, once, you internalize the words for these moves and recite them verbatim, you will have experienced all the depth and wonder that dance and movement have to offer."

      However, none of these examples are given so as to dismiss or ignore the necessity of (at least some level of) formalistic fluency within each of these domains of experience. Rather, their purpose is to highlight the parallels in other domains that may seem (at first) so disconnected from one's own experience, so far from one's fundamental way of feeling the world, that the only plausible reasons one can make to explain why people would waste their time engaging in such acts are 1. folly: they merely do not yet know their activities are absurd, but surely enough time will disabuse them of their foolish ways. 2. madness: they cannot ever know the absurdity of their acts, for "the absurd" and "the astute" are but two names for one and the same thing in their world of chaos. 3. apathy: they in fact do see the absurdity in their continuing of activities which give them no sense of meaning, yet their indifference insurmountably impedes them from changing their course of action. For how could one resist the path of least resistance, a road born of habit, when one must expend energy to do so but that energy can only come from one who cares?

      Or at least, these 3 reasons can surely seem like that's all there possibly could be to warrant someone continuing music, chess, dance, maths, logic, computer science, or any apparently alien craft. However, if one takes time to speak to someone who earnestly pursues such "alien crafts", then one may start to perceive intimations of something beyond their current impressions

      The contorted clutching of the strings now seems... coordinated. The pensive placement of the pawns now appears... purposeful. The frantic flailing of one's feet now feels... freeing. The movements of one's mind now feels... marvelous.

      So the very activity that once seemed so clearly absurd, becomes cognition and shapes perspectives beyond words

  4. Oct 2022
    1. On some level, even Feynmann knows these arguments are circular. You can tell by the uncharacteristic frustration in his voice around 39:30 when he says "i don't know how much I can emphasize this...it IS particles in every way..."
      • SEE
    1. Be ready, as soon as you have read or heard the thing, to repeat it exactly in as far as you want to fix it in your memory. If it is a book, do not leave it without being able to sum it up and to estimate its value. Ta

      Sounds much like the Feynman technique and is quite similar to the advice of Sonke Ahrens.

  5. Sep 2022
    1. This is not so different from when elaboration is recommended asa “learning method.” As a method, it has been proven to be moresuccessful than any other approach (McDaniel and Donnelly 1996).

      Elaboration has been shown to be the most successful learning approach. (See McDaniel and Donnelly 1996) It is a two step process of being able to write about it and to use it in alternate contexts.

      How is the Feynman Technique similar to/different from elaboration? It would seem to be missing the second portion.

      This is one of the first times I've come across another word for part of the Feynman technique I've been looking for.

  6. Jun 2022
    1. When a few of his friends became interested in thetopic, he took eight minutes to progressively summarize the bestexcerpts before sharing the summarized article with them. The timethat he had spent reading and understanding a complex subject paidoff in time savings for his friends, while also giving them a newinterest to connect over.

      To test one's own understanding of a topic one has read about and studied, it can be useful to discuss it or describe one's understanding to friends or colleagues in conversations. This will help you discover where the holes are based on the person's understanding and comprehension of what you've said. Can you fill in all the holes where they have questions? Are their questions your new questions which have exposed holes that need to be filled in your understanding or in the space itself.

      I do this regularly in conversations with people. It makes the topics of conversation more varied and interesting and helps out your thinking at the same time. In particular I've been doing this method in Dan Allosso's book club. It's almost like trying on a new idea the way one might try on a piece of clothing to see how it fits or how one likes it for potential purchase. If an idea "fits" then continue refining it and add it to your knowledge base. These conversations also help to better link ideas in my thought space to those of what we're reading. (I wonder if others are doing these same patterns, Dan seems to, but I don't have as good a grasp on this with other participants).

      Link to :<br /> - Ahren's idea of writing to expose understanding<br /> - Feynman technique<br /> - Socratic method (this is sort of side or tangential method to this) <- define this better/refine

    2. First, you are much more likely to remember information you’vewritten down in your own words. Known as the “Generation Effect,”10researchers have found that when people actively generate a seriesof words, such as by speaking or writing, more parts of their brainare activated when compared to simply reading the same words.Writing things down is a way of “rehearsing” those ideas, likepracticing a dance routine or shooting hoops, which makes them farmore likely to stick.

      Zachary A. Rosner et al., “The Generation Effect: Activating Broad Neural Circuits During Memory Encoding,” Cortex 49, no. 7 (July–August 2013), 1901–1909, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2012.09.009. #wanttoread

      How does the "Generation Effect" tie into the Feynman technique for understanding, modality shifting for memory and understanding, and even a mild form of spaced repetition for memory?

    1. The Algebra Project was born.At its core, the project is a five-step philosophy of teaching that can be applied to any concept: Physical experience. Pictorial representation. People talk (explain it in your own words). Feature talk (put it into proper English). Symbolic representation.

      The five step philosophy of the Algebra Project: - physical experience - pictorial representation - people talk (explain it in your own words) - feature talk (put it into proper English) - symbolic representation


      "people talk" within the Algebra project is an example of the Feynman technique at work

      Link this to Sonke Ahrens' method for improving understanding. Are there research links to this within their work?

  7. May 2022
    1. scanned for solutions to long-standing problems in his reading,conversations, and everyday life. When he found one, he couldmake a connection that looked to others like a flash of unparalleledbrilliance

      Feynman’s approach encouraged him to follow his interests wherever they might lead. He posed questions and constantly

      Creating strong and clever connections between disparate areas of knowledge can appear to others to be a flash of genius, in part because they didn't have the prior knowledges nor did they put in the work of collecting, remembering, or juxtaposition.

      This method may be one of the primary (only) underpinnings supporting the lone genius myth. This is particularly the case when the underlying ideas were not ones fully developed by the originator. As an example if Einstein had fully developed the ideas of space and time by himself and then put the two together as spacetime, then he's independently built two separate layers, but in reality, he's cleverly juxtaposed two broadly pre-existing ideas and combined them in an intriguing new framing to come up with something new. Because he did this a few times over his life, he's viewed as an even bigger genius, but when we think about what he's done and how, is it really genius or simply an underlying method that may have shaken out anyway by means of statistical thermodynamics of people thinking, reading, communicating, and writing?

      Are there other techniques that also masquerade as genius like this, or is this one of the few/only?

      Link this to Feynman's mention that his writing is the actual thinking that appears on the pages of his notes. "It's the actual thinking."

    2. As told in Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman byJames Gleick

      Forte cleverly combines a story about Feynman from Genius with a quote about Feynman's 12 favorite problems from a piece by Rota. Did they both appear in Gleick's Genius together and Forte quoted them separately, or did he actively use his commonplace to do the juxtaposition for him and thus create a nice juxtaposition himself or was it Gleick's juxtaposition?

      The answer will reveal whether Forte is actively using his system for creative and productive work or if the practice is Gleick's.

    3. new result, test it against each of your twelve problems to seewhether it helps. Every once in a while there will be a hit, andpeople will say, “How did he do it? He must be a genius!”

      You have to keep a dozen of your favorite problems constantly present in your mind, although by and large they will lay in a dormant state. Every time you hear or read a new trick or a

      Gian-Carlo Rota, Indiscrete Thoughts (Boston: Birkhäuser Boston, 1997), 202.

      Richard Feynman indicated in an interview that he kept a dozen of his favorite problems at the top of his mind. As he encountered new results and tricks, he tried applying them to those problems in hopes of either solving them or in coming up with new ideas. Over time by random but combinatorial chance, solutions or ideas would present themselves as ideas were juxtaposed.

      One would suspect that Feynman hadn't actually read Raymond Llull, but this technique sounds very similar to the Llullan combinatorial arts from centuries earlier, albeit in a much more simplified form.

      Can we find evidence of Feynman having read or interacted with Llull? Was it independently created or was he influenced?

      I had an example of this on 2022-05-28 in Dan Allosso's book club on Equality in the closing minutes where a bit of inspiration hit me to combine the ideas of memes, evolution, and Indigenous knowledge and storytelling to our current political situation. Several of them are problems and ideas I've been working with over years or months, and they came together all at once to present a surprising and useful new combination. #examples

      Link this also to the idea of diffuse thinking as a means of solving problems. One can combine the idea of diffuse thinking with combinatorial creativity to super-charge one's problem solving and idea generation capacity this way. What would one call this combination? It definitely needs a name. Llullan combinatorial diffusion, perhaps? To some extent Llull was doing this already as part of his practice, it's just that he didn't know or write explicitly about the diffuse thinking portion (to my knowledge), though this doesn't mean that he wasn't the beneficiary of it in actual practice, particularly when it's known that many of his time practiced lectio divina and meditated on their ideas. Alternately meditating on ideas and then "walking away" from them will by force cause diffuse thinking to be triggered.

      Are there people for whom diffuse thinking doesn't work from a physiological perspective? What type of neurodiversity does this cause?

    4. There are four essential capabilities that we can rely on a SecondBrain to perform for us:1. Making our ideas concrete.2. Revealing new associations between ideas.3. Incubating our ideas over time.4. Sharpening our unique perspectives.

      Does the system really do each of these? Writing things down for our future selves is the thing that makes ideas concrete, not the system itself. Most notebooks don't reveal new associations, we actively have to do that ourselves via memory or through active search and linking within the system itself. The system may help, but it doesn't automatically create associations nor reveal them. By keeping our ideas in one place they do incubate to some extent, but isn't the real incubation taking place in a diffuse way in our minds to come out later?

    1. The minute we saw his frantic, hand-lettered presentation of the Field Notes credo — “I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I’m writing it down to remember it now” — we knew just what to do.

      https://fieldnotesbrand.com/apparel/remember-it-now-tee

      Field Notes, a manufacturer of notebooks, uses the credo "I'm not writing it down to remember it later, I'm writing it down to remember it now." This is an fun restatement of the idea behind the power of the Feynman technique.

      Link to Ahrens' version of this idea.

  8. Apr 2022
    1. There is, however, one thing to learn from writers that non-writers don’t always understand. Most writers don’t write to express what they think. They write to figure out what they think. Writing is a process of discovery.
    1. YOU should write blogs.Even if nobody reads them, you should write them. It's become pretty clear to me that blogging is a source of both innovation and clarity. I have many of my best ideas and insights while blogging. Struggling to express things that you're thinking or feeling helps you understand them better.
    1. Blogging is my way of pulling together into a coherent form all the stray thoughts rolling around in my mind. Writing helps me sift the good thoughts from all the bad and fit them all together in a logical pattern.
    1. One of the most interesting aspects to blogging is discourse - the idea that in order to write something you must think about it with a critical eye and that this process actually helps you clarify your thinking around it.
    1. The Zettelkasten System is a Superset of the Feynman Technique

      Sönke Ahrens outlines this broad idea of how one practices the Feynman technique for understanding using one's notes in How to Take Smart Notes, but he doesn't use the name Feynman technique. Certainly the idea of writing things down to test one's understanding predated Feynman, does anyone know of historical examples of this pattern/technique prior to Feynman? Does it have other names in the literature?

    1. https://blog.sjm.codes/202204231657

      Nothing new or earth shattering to me, but I did manage to squeeze out a few literature notes that may be useful later.

    2. Zettelkasten notes are little atomic Feynman Technique experiences.

      The creation of literature notes for one's zettelkasten are atomic instances of the use of the Feynman technique to test one's understanding.

    3. The Zettelkasten System is a Superset of the Feynman Technique

      Not exactly my specific framing, but I've noted this correspondence before. Glad to see others have the same perception.

    1. Francis Bacon explained succinctlythat notes could be made either “by epitome or abridgement” (that is, by sum-marizing the source) or “by heads or commonplaces” (that is, by copying a pas-sage verbatim or nearly so and storing it in a notebook under a commonplaceheading for later retrieval and use). Bacon considered the latter method “of farmore profit and use,” and most note-taking advice focused on this practice of ex-cerpting.46

      This quote is worth looking up and checking its context. Particularly I'm interested to know if the purpose of summarizing the source is to check one's understanding of the ideas as is done in the Feynman technique, or if the purpose is a reminder summary of the piece itself?


      Link to Ahrens mentions of this technique for checking understanding. (Did he use the phrase Feynman in his text?)

    1. “The exam is open book and open note, but you MUST NOT work with another person while taking it,” the instructions read. “You also MUST not copy/paste anything directly from ANY source other than your own personal notes. This includes no copy/pasting from lecture slides, from the internet, or from any of the readings. All short answers must be compiled in your own words.”

      While students apparently have ignored the instructions in the past resulting in breaches of academic integrity, teachers can prompt active learning even during exams by prompting students to write answers to questions on open book/open notes in their own words.

    1. Research has shown that when we give students complete, well-written, instructor-prepared notes to review after they take their own notes, they learn significantly more than with their own notes alone (Kiewra, 1985).

      Students who are given well-written, instructor-prepared notes to review after taking their own notes have been shown to learn significantly more than with only using their own notes.

      These notes can provide valuable additional feedback and might also be supplemented with additional texts or books. The issue may be how to encourage students to use these resources appropriately rather than relying on them as a crutch or backstop which may encourage them not to take their own notes? It's the work of making the notes and the forced context shift that are likely creating the most benefit rather than simply reviewing over what they already know.


      Link this to review effects mentioned in Ahrens versus using questions and being forced to manufacture an answer.

    2. Reynolds’ students have had strong positive reactions to this style of notes and consistently attribute the notes as a key factor in their engagement and learning in the course (Reynolds & Tackie, 2016).

      Susan Reynolds' paper indicates that students have positive reactions to her skeletal notes, but does her research indicate that they are measurably better?

      What is the right balance of encouraging attention and participation in the process versus saving time for the students? Active work in the process is likely to be shown to work best.

      Has anyone done research on actively helping students and modeling for them after a lecture experience to show them the appropriate follow up methods?

  9. Mar 2022
    1. RichardFeynman once had a visitor in his office, a historian who wanted tointerview him. When he spotted Feynman’s notebooks, he said howdelighted he was to see such “wonderful records of Feynman’sthinking.”“No, no!” Feynman protested. “They aren’t a record of my thinkingprocess. They are my thinking process. I actually did the work on thepaper.”“Well,” the historian said, “the work was done in your head, but therecord of it is still here.”“No, it’s not a record, not really. It’s working. You have to work onpaper, and this is the paper.”[33]

      Genius: The Life And Science of Richard Feynman,” James Gleick, Pantheon Books, 1992 (see pg. 409).

  10. Feb 2022
    1. By annotating, you take ownership over the message that the book is trying to make.

      Annotating a text allows the reader to more closely interact with the ideas and take ownership of them.

    1. he best-researched and mostsuccessful learning method is elaboration. It is very similar to whatwe do when we take smart notes and combine them with others,which is the opposite of mere re-viewing (Stein et al. 1984)Elaboration means nothing other than really thinking about themeaning of what we read, how it could inform different questions andtopics and how it could be combined with other knowledge

      Elaboration is thinking deeply about the meaning of what we've read, how it could inform or answer different questions, and how it can be linked or combined with other knowledge. It is one of the best-researched and most successful learning methods. While it seems to have some subtle differences, it sounds broadly similar to the Feynman technique and is related to the idea of writing questions based on one's notes in the Cornell note taking method.

    2. Reading with a pen in yourhand is the small-scale equivalent of a lecture.

      Active reading with a pen in your hand and the creation of smart notes is a small-scale equivalent of a full introductory lecture from the perspective of Richard Feynman's technique for testing understanding.

      Active reading is roughly equivalent to the idea of reading with a pen in your hand or showing evidence of a mind at play.

    3. “If you can’t say it clearly, you don’t understand it yourself.” (JohnSearle)

      Searle, John R. 1983. Intentionality, an Essay in the Philosophy of Mind. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.

      An alternate statement of the Feynman technique.

      Again, earlier incarnations?

    4. Reading with a pen in the hand, for example, forces, us to thinkabout what we read and check upon our understanding. It is thesimplest test: We tend to think we understand what we read – untilwe try to rewrite it in our own words. By doing this, we not only get abetter sense of our ability to understand, but also increase our abilityto clearly and concisely express our understanding – which in returnhelps to grasp ideas more quickly. If we try to fool ourselves hereand write down incomprehensible words, we will detect it in the nextstep when we try to turn our literature notes into permanent notesand try to connect them with others.
    5. Make literature notes. Whenever you read something, make notesabout the content. Write down what you don’t want to forget or thinkyou might use in your own thinking or writing. Keep it very short, beextremely selective, and use your own words.

      Literature notes could also be considered progressive summaries of what one has read. They are also a form of practicing the Feynman technique where one explains what one knows as a means of embracing an idea and better understanding it.

  11. Jan 2022
    1. https://words.jamoe.org/highlight-question-and-answer/

      A somewhat disingenuous reframing of the Cornell notes method. They've given it a different name potentially for marketing purposes to sell in a book. At least HQ&A is a reasonable mnemonic for what the process is.

      They do highlight the value of modality shift from reading to thinking about how to formulate a question and answer as a means of learning. They don't seem to know the name or broader value of the technique however.

      This question technique is also highlighted in the work of Andy Matuschak and Michael Nielsen. Cross reference: https://andymatuschak.org/prompts/ and their quantum mechanics course experiments.

    1. learning doesn’t happen from skimming through a book or remembering enough to pass a test.

      One of the biggest misconceptions is that learning occurs when we skim through a book or briefly just remember enough information for a test or exam. Changing our mindset from this way of thinking is the first step in the process of utilizing the Feynman technique

  12. Sep 2021
    1. Turning a mental representation into shapes and lines on a page helped them to elucidate more fully what they already knew while revealing with ruthless rigor what they did not yet comprehend.

      The modality shift of putting ideas onto a page like this is similar to the idea behind the Feynman technique.

    1. “I never understand anything until I have written about it.” Supposedly Horace Walpole (1717-1797) wrote that, but Google can't help me pin down where he might have done so. Frankly, it doesn't sound to me like a sentence written in the eighteenth century. But it may be a useful hyperbole.

      Track down the source of this for future use.

      Related to the idea of the Feynman Technique.

    1. Another effective technique is to start your notetaking by writing a short summary of each chapter and transcribing any meaningful passages or phrases. If you are unsure how to simplify your thoughts, imagine that someone has tapped you on the shoulder and asked you to explain the chapter you just finished reading. They have never read this book and lack any idea of the subject matter. How would you explain it to them?

      The so-called Richard Feynman technique, n'cest pas?

      From whom did he crib it? Did he credit them, or was it just distilled into part of the culture?

      This is also similar to the rubber duck method of debugging a program in some sense.

  13. Jul 2021
    1. This distinction is familiar in terms of the differences be­tween being able to remember something and being able to explain it.

      This quote is similar and generally related to the Feynman Technique. (see: https://fs.blog/2021/02/feynman-learning-technique/) It's based apparently on quotes attributed to Feynman which include:

      • "I couldn't reduce it to the freshman level. That means we really don't understand it."
      • "If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't really understand it."
  14. Sep 2020
    1. In this one fable is all of Herbert's wisdom. When people want the future to be like the present, they must reject what is different. And in what is different is the seed of change. It may look warped and stunted now, but it will be normal when we are gone.

      Another echo of Feynman. Progress might not be inevitable but change is.

    2. Among many analogues to the twentieth century, one might note that the very scientists who discovered the fundamental principles of relativity and physical uncertainty upon which Paul's teachings are based are considered purveyors of an absolute, priestly knowledge too difficult for the uninitiated public to understand.

      Quote by Feynam is relevant here

      "Right. I don't believe in the idea that there are a few peculiar people capable of understanding math, and the rest of the world is normal. Math is a human discovery, and it's no more complicated than humans can understand. I had a calculus book once that said, ‘What one fool can do, another can." What we've been able to work out about nature may look abstract and threatening to someone who hasn't studied it, but it was fools who did it, and in the next generation, all the fools will understand it. There's a tendency to pomposity in all this, to make it deep and profound." - Richard Feynman, Omni 1979