Human Intelligence

What is curiosity?
Answered by Robert B. Gagosian, Tiffany Shlain and 128 others
  • Robert B. Gagosian

    Robert B. Gagosian

  • Tiffany Shlain

    Tiffany Shlain

  • Dr. Astro Teller

    Dr. Astro Teller

  • Elie Wiesel

    Elie Wiesel

  • Jill Tarter

    Jill Tarter

  • Dr. Michio Kaku

    Dr. Michio Kaku

  • Dr. Dean Ornish

    Dr. Dean Ornish

  • Andrew Weil M.D.

    Andrew Weil M.D.

  • Martha Stewart

    Martha Stewart

  • Deepak Chopra MD

    Deepak Chopra MD

  • Dr. Mehmet Oz

    Dr. Mehmet Oz

  • Dean Kamen

    Dean Kamen

  • Michael Dell

    Michael Dell

  • Sir Richard Branson

    Sir Richard Branson

  • C. Richard Allen

    C. Richard Allen

  • Bill and Nicolette Hahn Niman

    Bill and Nicolette Hahn Niman

  • Charles Yang

    Charles Yang

  • John Maeda

    John Maeda

  • Dr. John Hamre

    Dr. John Hamre

  • Craig Mundie

    Craig Mundie

  • Ted Leonsis

    Ted Leonsis

  • David M. Schwarz

    David M. Schwarz

  • Alexander Tsiaras

    Alexander Tsiaras

  • Jeffrey Koseff

    Jeffrey Koseff

  • Jack Leslie

    Jack Leslie

  • Richard Saul Wurman

    Richard Saul Wurman

  • Michael A. Keller

    Michael A. Keller

  • Tom Rosenstiel

    Tom Rosenstiel

  • Eric Dishman

    Eric Dishman

  • Daniel Dubno

    Daniel Dubno

  • Pradeep Dubey

    Pradeep Dubey

  • Yossi Vardi

    Yossi Vardi

  • Gaspar Mora

    Gaspar Mora

  • Jennifer Healey

    Jennifer Healey

  • Lama Nachman

    Lama Nachman

  • John Sculley

    John Sculley

  • John Hendricks

    John Hendricks

  • Aubrey de Grey

    Aubrey de Grey

  • Jaron Lanier

    Jaron Lanier

  • W. Daniel Hillis

    W. Daniel Hillis

  • John Seely Brown

    John Seely Brown

  • Stephen Tobolowsky

    Stephen Tobolowsky

  • Madoo Varma

    Madoo Varma

  • Hilda Huang

    Hilda Huang

  • Ling Liao

    Ling Liao

  • Mario Paniccia

    Mario Paniccia

  • Jean Oelwang

    Jean Oelwang

  • Kyle MacDonald

    Kyle MacDonald

  • Dr. Calvin O. Butts III

    Dr. Calvin O. Butts III

  • Ralph Osterhout

    Ralph Osterhout

  • Hugh Panero

    Hugh Panero

  • Patrick Pattamanuch

    Patrick Pattamanuch

  • Keri L. Heitner PhD

    Keri L. Heitner PhD

  • Bradford E. Beckwith PhD

    Bradford E. Beckwith PhD

  • Helen Marie Mahoney OBGYN

    Helen Marie Mahoney OBGYN

  • Annabelle Pratt

    Annabelle Pratt

  • Timothy E. Wirth

    Timothy E. Wirth

  • Yi Wu

    Yi Wu

  • Beppe Raffa

    Beppe Raffa

  • Tom Colicchio

    Tom Colicchio

  • Jason Howard

    Jason Howard

  • Eric Mantion

    Eric Mantion

  • John L. Hennessy

    John L. Hennessy

  • Wayne Pacelle

    Wayne Pacelle

  • Nina Tandon

    Nina Tandon

  • Dr. Francine Patterson

    Dr. Francine Patterson

  • Waleed Abdalati

    Waleed Abdalati

  • Alan Kay

    Alan Kay

  • Jim St. Leger

    Jim St. Leger

  • Vida Ilderem

    Vida Ilderem

  • John Healy

    John Healy

  • Lori Matassa

    Lori Matassa

  • Mic Bowman

    Mic Bowman

  • Anya Kamenetz

    Anya Kamenetz

  • James L. Green

    James L. Green

  • Peter H. Diamandis

    Peter H. Diamandis

  • Paul Saffo

    Paul Saffo

  • John Oliver

    John Oliver

  • David Kelley

    David Kelley

  • Julie Packard

    Julie Packard

  • Sylvia Earle

    Sylvia Earle

  • Alessandro Stratta

    Alessandro Stratta

  • Bill Moggridge

    Bill Moggridge

  • Charlie Trotter

    Charlie Trotter

  • Caterina Fake

    Caterina Fake

  • Rodney Brooks

    Rodney Brooks

  • Lee Rainie

    Lee Rainie

  • Jake Shimabukuro

    Jake Shimabukuro

  • Wayne Clough

    Wayne Clough

  • Michael Massimino

    Michael Massimino

  • Christopher J. Ferguson

    Christopher J. Ferguson

  • Rob Wrubel

    Rob Wrubel

  • Thomas Keller

    Thomas Keller

  • Jose Andres

    Jose Andres

  • iO Tillett Wright

    iO Tillett Wright

  • Daniel Pauly

    Daniel Pauly

  • Sheila C. Johnson

    Sheila C. Johnson

  • Alex Sandy Pentland

    Alex Sandy Pentland

  • David Chang

    David Chang

  • Richard M. Satava

    Richard M. Satava

  • Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio

    Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio

  • Benjamin and Rosamund Zander

    Benjamin and Rosamund Zander

  • Professor Joseph M. DeSimone

    Professor Joseph M. DeSimone

  • Yoav Medan PhD

    Yoav Medan PhD

  • Megan Smith

    Megan Smith

  • Alexa Meade

    Alexa Meade

  • Philip Rosedale

    Philip Rosedale

  • Anthony Atala MD

    Anthony Atala MD

  • Professor Robert M. Metcalfe

    Professor Robert M. Metcalfe

  • John Perry Barlow

    John Perry Barlow

  • David Harvey

    David Harvey

  • Steve Case

    Steve Case

  • Leonard Kleinrock

    Leonard Kleinrock

  • Michael Tilson Thomas

    Michael Tilson Thomas

  • Nicholas Negroponte

    Nicholas Negroponte

  • Charles F. Bolden Jr.

    Charles F. Bolden Jr.

  • Joi Ito

    Joi Ito

  • Brewster Kahle

    Brewster Kahle

  • Dr. Lisa Prato

    Dr. Lisa Prato

  • Eric Schmidt

    Eric Schmidt

  • Juan Enriquez

    Juan Enriquez

  • Dr. Gerard van Belle

    Dr. Gerard van Belle

  • Jeff Arnold

    Jeff Arnold

  • Tracy Wilson

    Tracy Wilson

  • Vanessa Woods

    Vanessa Woods

  • Bernadette Lucas

    Bernadette Lucas

  • Katherine Neer

    Katherine Neer

  • Ron Gdovic PhD

    Ron Gdovic PhD

  • Dr. Jeff Hall

    Dr. Jeff Hall

  • Curiosity


  1. Robert B. Gagosian President & CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership


    I would suggest that curiosity is thinking beyond what you normally think about. For instance, you are climbing a mountain and you see a ridge. Curiosity to me is, what is beyond that ridge and how am I going to get to it? And what does it look like? And is it going to be something that is going to be scary? Is it going to be something interesting? I know it will be exciting. So I guess curiosity to me is excitement beyond my thought process

    More answers from Robert B. Gagosian »

  2. Tiffany Shlain Filmmaker & Founder, The Webby Awards


    Curiosity to me is simply asking a question. It's moving around the world, challenging preconceived notions and questioning why we do something the way we do. It's questioning why we react a certain way. I think one of my favorite things about the human species is that we're constantly trying to figure ourselves out. And I love the idea of neurosurgery and neuroscience, looking at a brain and trying to understand it.

    I'm also Jewish, and a tenet of Judaism is to always question something. So I think that's very much a part of my upbringing. But just as a filmmaker and as someone who exists in the world, I think my viewpoint is to be curious. My parents both instilled that in me, and certainly my husband and my children instill that in me, because they have the most beautiful sense of curiosity. And I think the secret to staying vital in this world is to always have that lens.

    More answers from Tiffany Shlain »

  3. Dr. Astro Teller Director of New Projects, Google


    That’s a very good question; and while  I am not sure this is the dictionary definition, curiosity, for me, is the feeling of being bugged.  I think of it like science, but it is much broader than a science.  As a scientist, to think of it as the essence of science, to say, "That's odd." So the way I approach the world is I have models. I have models of all the people who I interact with; I have models for how gravity works and how computers work.

    I think I understand things, and of course I strive for a perfect understanding [of things], so I am constantly surprised. What I love and what I think of as curiosity is the moment where the world gives me a piece of data -- I see something, I hear about something, and it doesn't fit the model that I have for the world, and occasionally, the data was mistaken, but usually the right answer is I need to adjust my models.  That's the learning moment.

    If you don't have curiosity, then you won't go do that learning, and you won't be bothered that your model is broken -- that is what I think curiosity is. It is the desire to iterate your model of the world.

    More answers from Dr. Astro Teller »

  4. Elie Wiesel Nobel Peace Laureate, Boston University Professor


    Curiosity can be very good or very bad. It depends what you do with it and for what reason. You cannot live without curiosity, without anticipation, without interrogation. On the other hand, if you use curiosity just for silly things – it can happen – then why go on?

    More answers from Elie Wiesel »

  5. Jill Tarter Director, Center for SETI Research, SETI Institute


    Curiosity is trying to find answers to the whys that we've asked and continue to ask. It's never having to grow up. It's being a child and trying to discover and figure it out.

    More answers from Jill Tarter »

  6. Dr. Michio Kaku Theoretical Physicist and Author


    Science is the engine of prosperity, but the rocket fuel that drives this engine that powers it up is curiosity. Curiosity is what makes a scientist tick. You ask a scientist, "Why are you doing this? Why are you looking at the question of the universe, and what is the smallest ingredient of matter?" It's curiosity that drives us.

    More answers from Dr. Michio Kaku »

  7. Dr. Dean Ornish Founder and President, Preventive Medicine Research Institute


    Hmm, that's a curious question. Curiosity to me, at least, is the desire to find out what's happening? Why? For what reason? What the implications are. I'm a curious person by nature. That's why I do the work that I do.

    More answers from Dr. Dean Ornish »

  8. Andrew Weil M.D. Best-Selling Author, Speaker & Integrative Medicine Thought-Leader


    I think it is being attracted to something in your experience that really captures your attention and invites explanation.

    More information on Dr. Weil

    More answers from Andrew Weil M.D. »

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