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Learning From the Feynman Technique

https://medium.com/taking-note/learning-from-the-feynman-technique-5373014ad230

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Learning From the Feynman Technique
They called Feynman the "Great Explainer." Richard Feynman (1918-1988), an author, graphic novel hero, intellectual, philosopher, physicist, and No Ordinary Genius is considered to be one of the most important physicists of all time. He pioneered an entire field: quantum electrodynamics (QED).

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Richard Feynman (1918–1988) "The Great Explainer”

Richard Feynman (1918–1988) "The Great Explainer”

He is considered to be one of the most important physicists of all time.

Feynman was brilliant, eloquent, and an exquisitely passionate thinker who stands unequivocally for his ability to synthesize and explain complex scientific knowledge.

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The Feynman Technique

The Feynman technique for teaching and communication is a mental model (a breakdown of his personal thought process) to convey information using to the point thoughts and simple language.

Feynman started to record and connect the things he did know with those he did not know, resulting in a thorough notebook of subjects that had been disassembled, translated, and recorded.

We can use this same model to learn new concepts.

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<p><em>“In order to talk to ea...

“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.” 

Richard Feynman

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How the Feynman technique works

1. Identify the subject. Write down everything you know about the topic. Each time you run into new sources of information, add them to the note.

2. Teach it to a child. Write plain and simple so even a child can understand what you're talking about.

3. Identify your knowledge gaps.  What are you missing? What don’t you know? 

4. Organize + simplify + Tell a story. Piece together your notes and begin to spin a tale using concise and simple explanations.

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Multi-disciplinary approach to learning

Multi-disciplinary approach to learning

I wanted very much to learn to draw, for a reason that I kept to myself: I wanted to convey an emotion I have about the beauty of the world. It’s difficult to describe because it’s an emotion. … It’s a feeling of awe — of scientific awe — which I felt could be communicated through a drawing to someone who had also had that emotion. I could remind him, for a moment, of this feeling about the glories of the universe.

 — Feynman discussing the intersection of art and science.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The Feynman Technique

... is the perfect strategy for learning something new, deepening your understanding of a concept, enhancing your recall of certain ideas, or reviewing for tests.

The process t...

Richard Feynman

... the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, was recognized as someone who could clearly explain complex topics in a way that everybody—even those without degrees in the sciences—could understand

While studying at Princeton, Feynman began recording and connecting the information he knew with the things that he either didn't know or didn't understand.
This resulted in a complete notebook of topics and subjects that he had disassembled, translated, reassembled, and written down in simple terms.

The Benefits of the Feynman Technique

  • It helps you gain a complete understanding of what you're learning.
  • Use the Feynman Technique if you are struggling with tough subject matter.
  • It helps to improve your teaching skills.
  • It increases your capacity to use critical thinking skills.

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What to focus on when learning something

What to focus on when learning something

People can fool themselves into believing they understand something more deeply than they really do. It often comes from being focused on learning the wrong thing, such as the name of something ins...

Learning with the Feynman technique

  • Step 1: Pick something you want to learn. Spend time with the idea until you have internalized it as best you can.
  • Step 2: From memory, write everything down that you know about the subject in a way that a child can understand. Write the items down that you don't remember and find answers for those items.
  • Step 3: Question every line you have written down. Some things you will understand, but at some point, you will write things down that you don't know. Then find the answers to these new topics.
  • Step 4: Repeat step 3 until the questioning adds no incremental value. Reorganize the various information you found interesting. Then question your own information to see if there are more gaps in your understanding.

The Neuroscientist Karl Friston

The Neuroscientist Karl Friston
  • Karl Friston, a neuroscientist, published a radical theory called the ‘Free Energy Principle’ that has the neuroscience field in a tizzy. His papers, published in various journals, are heavil...

The Free Energy Principle

It states that the world is uncertain and full of surprises. Our brain, through perception, beliefs and action are trying to remain stable by minimizing the spikes, triggers and surprises.

We live inside our brains, and each of us has a unique perception of the outside world. Anything we say or document is just our way to explain the world we have lived. It has nothing to do with reality.

The Beautiful Mind

  • Our mind is programmed to sample the world so that the immediate future can be predictable, as a way to survive it with minimum surprises and disruptions, and as a way to conserve energy.
  • Free energy, outside the mind, maybe incomprehensible and even impossible to grasp fully, but our mind filters and curates much of the information and presents it to us in palpable format.
  • Our mind, when seen neurologically, is infinitely vast, much like the universe, which it even resembles visually.