Richard Hamming: “You and your research”

In 1986, Richard Hamming gave a talk at the Naval Postgraduate school entitled “You and your research” relating his experience working with some of the best scientists of the last century. It’s a must-read for anyone who does research for a living, and probably applies to just about any line of work. A few of my favorite quotes:

“I believed, in my early days, that you should spend at least as much time in the polish and presentation as you did in the original research. Now at least 50% of the time must go for the presentation. It’s a big, big number.”

“The people who do great work with less ability but who are committed to it, get more done that those who have great skill and dabble in it, who work during the day and go home and do other things and come back and work the next day.”

“Often a scientist becomes angry, and this is no way to handle things. Amusement, yes, anger, no. Anger is misdirected. You should follow and cooperate rather than struggle against the system all the time.”

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