Good scientists must always be willing to be wrong, writes Steven Ross Pomeroy from Real Clear Science at Scientific American's Guest Blog. Pomeroy recounts the story of a lecture given by Richard Feynman at Cornell University during which he explained how theoretical physicists work: They first dream up a new idea, determine what the consequences of that idea are, and then compare those results to direct observations. "If it disagrees with experiment, it's wrong," Feynman said, according to Pomeroy's telling. "In that simple statement, is the key to science."
Pomeroy adds that when scientists realize that they are wrong, it can be "liberating." He says: "a willingness to be wrong frees a scientist to pursue any avenue opened by evidence, even if that evidence doesn't support his or her original hunch."