Ask the Feynman Question
Super brain Richard Feynman framed the enduring understanding of scientific knowledge as a response to the following question
If, in some cataclysm, all scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generation of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words?
I believe it is the atomic hypothesis (or atomic fact, or whatever you wish to call it) that all things are made of atoms — little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another. In that one sentence you will see an enormous amount of information about the world, if just a little imagination and thinking are applied.
Teachers at all levels should be required to answer this question. The next time you meet a teacher ask them the Feynman question. It doesn’t matter if they teach kindergarten or graduate school, their answer will take you places.
If you are a teacher, ask yourself the Feynman question; better yet, ask your students.
The Feynman Question Template:
“If, in some cataclysm, all knowledge of ____________________were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generation of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words?”