What’s with the Latin?

Ignorantia Peritorum is Latin for “ignorance of the experts”, an allusion to the definition of science by famed physicist and Nobel laureate in Physics (1965) Richard P. Feynman “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.” Indeed, Feynman continues:1

"When someone says, 'Science teaches such and such,' he is using the word incorrectly. Science doesn’t teach anything; experience teaches it. If they say to you, 'Science has shown such and such,' you might ask, 'How does science show it? How did the scientists find out? How? What? Where?' It should not be 'science has shown' but 'this experiment, this effect, has shown.' And you have as much right as anyone else, upon hearing about the experiments (but be we must listen to all the evidence) to judge whether a sensible conclusion has been arrived at ... The experts who are leading you may be wrong. ... I think we live in an unscientific age in which almost all the buffeting of communications and television words, books, and so on are unscientific ... As a result, there is a considerable amount of intellectual tyranny in the name of science ... Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers of the preceding generation.”

That is the ultimate goal of Ignorantia Peritorum … to investigate those matters in which the experts appear ignorant.

About Ari Trachtenberg

Ari Trachtenberg is a veteran academic researcher and educator, with a background in engineering and computer science.

He has spent the bulk of his career (to the present day) in the ivory towers of academia, as a tenured professor at a tier one research university with all sorts of fancy awards he is too modest to repeat (except when looking for a raise!). He has had visiting professorships at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology and Ben Gurion University and sabbaticals in industry with TripAdvisor, MIT Lincoln Lab, and Hewlett Packard Laboratories.

All of which is to say that he is most definitively not speaking for any of these entities with his musings on Ignorantia Peritorum. The posts on this substack represent the personal views of Ari Trachtenberg alone.


"The Pleasure of Finding Things Out and the Meaning of it All." New York: Perseus (2002), pp. 187-188. Available on the Internet Archive.

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This substack seeks to highlight and explicate the ignorance of experts.


Ari Trachtenberg is a veteran academic researcher and educator, with a background in engineering and computer science. His views on Ignorantia Peritorum are exclusively his own.