Richard Hamming: You and Your Research (Morning Mentors #1)

Qualifications: Turing Award winner, Bells Labs Alumni, Hamming code inventor, Professor

One of the most important talks that I have ever watched about the nature of research and success by a giant of computing, telecommunications, and mathematics. Very rewatchable and tremendously inspiring.

Research
  • You MUST Work on important problem in your field
  • Consider the implications of your work on the future, is it worth doing?
  • Turn defects into assets (digital vs. analog hamming differentiation)
  • Change the nature of the problem to find the underlying question and nature
  • Spend time studying related research domains (Jon Tucci studied all layers at Bell Labs)
  • Work on the right problem, at the right time. “…million races being run, just get in one and win”
Success
  • Change does not require progress but progress requires change
  • Constant hard work makes people successful
  • “One of the characteristics of successful scientists is courage. Once you get your courage up and believe that you can do important problems, then you can. If you think you can’t, almost surely you are not going to. Courage is one of the things that Shannon had supremely”
Misc
  • The difference between those that do and don’t do significant things: Style
  • You need to learn to communicate: Casual, conference, and formal talk settings
  • Listen to talks, find out why they are effective, and adapt what you learn. Develop your style
  • You need to study your and other people’s successes very closely!
  • The unexamined life is not worth living” : You have one life to live make it the best you can on your own terms

Video here!