Friday, May 24, 2013

Know it all

For me the definition of wisdom is "knowing that you don't know".  I felt this intensely when I emerged from my orals in May of 1977 at Miami University attempting to "prove" to the PHD panel of experts that I was worthy being awarded a Masters Degree in Statistics.  It was a humbling experience and a eureka moment of how little I knew in the field of Statistics. 

Knowledge is an infinite and deep reservoir present for all of us to experience.  Scientia (Latin term for Knowledge) is a moving target - the body of knowledge itself.  Scientists (which we can all claim to be) engage in activities to acquire knowledge.  The highest award (title) we give in the reservoir of knowledge is PhD (Latin abbreviation for Philosophiae Doctor) of Doctor of Philosophy in ........ (you name the field). 

How appropriate that scientists are really just philosophers swimming in their ocean of knowledge.  Waves of information Piling Higher and Deeper (PHD) and Patiently Hoping for a Degree (PHD). 

The 2011 Survey of Earned Doctorates estimates 49,000 USA degrees from 412 granting institutions.  The twentieth century show explosive growth in doctorates awarded.

Does this mean we (or they) know more? ..... or that there are more, that know more? ....... or that the more they know, the less is known?

How deep is the reservoir?

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