Beauty At Work
Beauty At Work
Mar 15, 2023
Wonder: Cultivating the Love of Science with Dr. Frank Keil
Play • 42 min

Frank C. Keil is Charles C. & Dorathea S. Dilley Professor of Psychology and Linguistics at Yale University, where he is also a member of the Cognition and Development Lab. After his BS in Biology at MIT in 1973, he went on to get his MA in Psychology from Stanford in 1975 and PhD in Psychology from University of Pennsylvania in 1977. Keil has published extensively on topics concerned with many areas in the development of cognition and language. He has written two books on aspects of conceptual development. He has served as president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology and has received numerous awards for his scholarship, including the Boyd R. McCandless Award from the American Psychological Association (Developmental Psychology), the Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution to Psychology from the American Psychological Association, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, a MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health, and the Ann L. Brown Award for Excellence in Developmental Research. His recent work focuses on how children and adults grasp the causal structure of the world around them and how they cope with explanatory gaps. His latest book is Wonder: Childhood and the Lifelong Love of Science (MIT Press, 2022).

In this episode, we talk about: 

  1. Defining “wonder” and how it differs from curiosity and its importance for children.
  2. Causal mechanisms and their importance in the realm of science.
  3. The factors that facilitate wonder and the drive to understand causal mechanisms.
  4. How the American school system contributes to the repression of wonder.
  5. How the pressure of chasing grants and the lack of agency is an obstacle to a scientist’s wonder.
  6. How to sustain the sense of wonder.
  7. Qualities that one can have that can contribute to the pursuit of scientific inquiry.
  8. Does learning how something works diminish the wonder we can feel for it?
  9. On the weaponization of wonder 
  10. How to make assertions with confidence while also saying that it’s fallible.
  11. Tips for cultivating wonder in (1) children, (2) teachers who feel pressured to produce by the system, and (3) scientists who are losing their sense of wonder.

Resources mentioned:

Frank Keil’s book, “Wonder: Childhood and the Lifelong Love of Science”:

Support us on Patreon:

Support the show
More episodes
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu