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





Learning From the Feynman Technique

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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Learning From the Feynman Technique

Learning From the Feynman Technique


Key Ideas

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.

“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 sc...

“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

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.

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.



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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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.

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The term spirituality has one of two connotations: One is a classic religious one; the other is inspired by New Age Culture. Both categories embody spirituality better than cold, hard...

Reason is more of a guide

In a world where we can have complete information about everything, reason can give us certain answers. However, the world we are living in is not even close to having all the answers. In this world, words are fallible. So is perception and imagination.

Reason is then more of a guide than a symbol of truth.

The limits of understanding

There are limitations to what the human mind can understand. The mysteries of the Universe and our conscious experience are too complex to be restricted to words and formulas. 

We mostly operate on faith and habit in ways that aren’t obvious. 

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