Science is what we have learned about how to keep from fooling ourselves.
The deeper a thing is, the more interesting it is
I was an ordinary person who studied hard. There are no miracle people. It happens they get interested in this thing and they learn all this stuff, but they’re just people.
I... a universe of atoms, an atom in the universe.
A philosopher once said 'It is necessary for the very existence of science that the same conditions always produce the same results'. Well, they do not. You set up the circumstances, with the same conditions every time, and you cannot predict behind which hole you will see the electron. Yet science goes on in spite of it - although the same conditions do not always produce the same results. <...> What is necessary 'for the very existence of science', and what the characteristics of nature are, are not to be determined by pompous preconditions, they are determined always by the material with which we work, by nature herself. We look, and we see what we find, and we cannot say ahead of time successfully what it is going to look like. <...> If science is to progress, what we need is the ability to experiment, honesty in reporting results - the results must be reported without somebody saying what they would like the results to have been - and finally - an important thing - the intelligence to interpret the results.
That is the idea that we all hope you have learned in studying science in school—we never explicitly say what this is, but just hope that you catch on by all the examples of scientific investigation. It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now and speak of it explicitly. It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty—a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid—not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked—to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated. Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can—if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong—to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition. In summary, the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another. The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists... You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.