Richard Hamming

Mathematician and computer scientist.

Important ideas:

  • What matters is working on important problems or work on things that could lead to something important. Otherwise, why bother? He emphasized the need to work on the most important problems in your respective field–both knowing the problems and dropping everything to work on it when an approach to solving it emerges.
  • You don’t need to be a genius or the best–but you do need to work hard and learn what works so you can seize the opportunity when it arises.
  • To make important contributions you need to work on the right problem, at the right time, in the right way.

See also:

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A talk given by Richard Hamming about the art of doing science and engineering.

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A lecture from Richard Hamming about creativity and how to cultivate it.