2014-01-21

A Short Talk about Richard Feynman (2005)

And in fact, sometimes it was those throwaway conference talks that have ended up being some of Feynman's most popular pieces. On nanotechnology. Or foundations of quantum theory. Or other things.

You know, Feynman spent most of his life working on prominent current problems in physics. But he was a confident problem solver. And occasionally he would venture outside. Bringing his "one can solve any problem just by thinking about it" attitude with him.

"You know" is one of the most common "filler" phrases we use in speech. For the purposes of public speaking, we're taught to eliminate these filler words as much as possible. Rightfully so. These phrases are distracting at best.

The quote above is from a transcript of a talk given by Steven Wolfram. Understandably, he uses "You know" now and then during his talk.

What I noticed though in reading this transcript, is that his use of "You know" gives the text a more human tone than had the phrases not been there. It makes the text more conversational.

It's really surprising to me, since I never expected that it would such a different effect on the listener/reader when used in speech v.s. writing.