Feynman on Explaining Physics

Here’s a video of physicist Richard Feynman describing why it can be problematic to use physics to “explain” phenomena. It takes him a while to get to the point he’s trying to make, but I recommend that you stick around until the end.

The goal of physics is to answer “why” at deeper and deeper levels. Some of my favourite moments as a teacher have been ones where a student has continued to ask me why something is the case, and I keep answering until together we reach the horizon of our current knowledge about the universe. Why does matter resist acceleration? Why does time flow forwards but never back? We may never know, but we can keep digging — at least until we’ve found what seems to be a truth that lacks any possible explanation for why it is true.