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The Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  225 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Highly effective thinking is an art that engineers and scientists can be taught to develop. By presenting actual experiences and analyzing them as they are described, the author conveys the developmental thought processes employed and shows a style of thinking that leads to successful results is something that can be learned. Along with spectacular successes, the author al ...more
Paperback, 376 pages
Published October 28th 1997 by CRC Press (first published January 31st 1996)
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☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
Q:
The unexamined life is not worth living. (c)
Q:
The use of FORTRAN, like the earlier symbolic programming, was very slow to be taken up by the
professionals. And this is typical of almost all professional groups. Doctors clearly do not follow the advice they give to others, and they also have a high proportion of drug addicts. Lawyers often do not leave decent wills when they die. Almost all professionals are slow to use their own expertise for their own work. The situation is nicely summarized b
...more
Nick Black
Aug 01, 2009 marked it as to-read
Shelves: to-acquire
Hamming's essay, "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics" (together with Eugene Wigner's precursor piece, "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences", is one of the four or five most important papers I've ever read:
Prologue. It is evident from the title that this is a philosophical discussion. I shall not apologize for the philosophy, though I am well aware that most scientists, engineers, and mathematicians have little regard for it; instead, I shall give this
...more
Sandy Maguire
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hamming invented a lot of cool stuff, but he is best known for sitting down and asking people why they weren't working on the most important problems in their domain. Presumably he didn't make a lot of friends with this strategy, but his is the name we remember, not theirs.

This book is excellent excellent excellent. The thesis is that a life lived without producing excellent work isn't one worth living. Hamming describes the book as a manual of style; while university is good at teaching technic
...more
Sergiu Ciumac
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A book full of wisdom from an engineer and scientist who spent his entire life in computing and research. Richard Hamming discusses why scientist do things they do, how leaders are different from followers, how to spot trends and focus on the core, what changes are going to take place in the near future and how do we adapt to them. "Luck favors the prepared", indeed a quote that is the main theme of this book.
Recommend to anyone in the search of the meaning of work, research and generally life.
Morgan
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Hamming's goal with this book is to teach style and creativity to people who do engineering or research. He primarily does this using a ton of anecdotes from his own research career. He'll give a story about doing something or other, then explain how it relates to the broader picture of being a top notch researcher.

The book itself is organized into separate chapters, each focusing on a technical area that Hamming was interested in. He gives enough information to understand the topic (assuming y
...more
Mark Mulvey
Jun 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal."

"Learning a new subject is something
you will have to do many times in your career if you are to be a leader and not be left behind as a follower by newer developments."

"When you know something cannot be done, also remember the essential reason why, so later, when the circumstances have changed, you will not say, "It can't be done.""

"More than most people want to believe, what we see depends on how we approach the problem! Too often we
...more
Romeo Stevens
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lots of skippable stuff for non technical audiences, but the first few and last few chapters are goldmines for anyone.
Isaac Perez Moncho
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
It is difficult to classify the book. In theory, it's a textbook, in practice, it's more on a collection of thoughts and approaches to do science, engineering and live your life.
The background of the author is impressive, to say the least, having worked at Los Alamos and shared office with Claude Shannon at Bell Labs should say enough on its own.
The book has many gold nuggets, and some math filled pages I skipped.
Hamming explains how to make your work visible, how to approach what kind of work y
...more
Lei Wang
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very systematic view of doing science and engineering. Very inspiring book for researchers in more principled way to do research and self-development.
Samuel
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
"
It soon became evident to me one of the reasons no theorem was false was that Hilbert “knew” the
Euclidean theorems were “correct”, and he had picked his added postulates so this would be true. But then I soon realized Euclid had been in the same position; Euclid knew the “truth” of the Pythagorean theorem, and many other theorems, and had to find a system of postulates which would let him get the results he knew in advance. Euclid did not lay down postulates and make deductions as it is common
...more
Michael Knolla
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Accruing the benefit of this text required me to trust the author when he said that the importance of the examples he was providing was not in the theories themselves but in how they were derived - the art of doing science and engineering NOT the science or engineering in and of itself, to borrow from the title. With my pure mathematical glory days too far behind me and the examples too far out of my current competencies that still meant taking an intellectual beating for the first 200+ pages to ...more
John
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this because Bret Victor really likes it. There's a lot in here and I will probably get a lot out of it if I read it again later.

What did I expect going in? Some sort of philosophy or method that Hamming synthesized through his own experience - how Hamming thinks about doing meaningful technical work.

What did I get? A sense of the man himself, and how he went about thinking about various fields. I think each set of lectures has an interesting insight. The subject matter, although interes
...more
Phil
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very inspiring read. Richard gives many stories that feel very familiar to me, having made similar mistakes or learned similar lessons in my technical career. This book convinces me that early computing was very different in its capabilities ~50 years ago, but not too different in the problem solving it asked of practitioners.

I still don't live my life by Richard's biggest lesson: To set high goals where you believe important work must be done and to then make slow, steady, and compounding pro
...more
Mayur Sinha
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tech, science, ee
"The unexamined life is not worth living" is a famous dictum apparently uttered by Socrates at his trial for impiety and corrupting youth, for which he was subsequently sentenced to death.

Hamming is a genius who is explaining to us through this book that it is your life you have to live and he is just only one of many possible guides you have for selecting and creating the style of the one life you have to live. Most of the things Hamming has been saying were not said to him; he had to discover
...more
Ben Scheirman
Jul 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book dares you to consider the big picture and what impact you want to have in your career and life. It's very math dense, which was often over my head, but some of the concepts triggered some understanding of concepts I hadn't considered deeply since university.

It dispels the notion of being "lucky" and instead emphasizes showing up to do the hard work and thinking deeply. Big things can arise from these situations.
Andrew Shulaev
Really good book tackling the problem of how to come up with new scientific and engineering ideas.

Chapters on information theory and digital filters are quite bad though: they do not explain the topic in sufficient detail for someone without background knowledge to understand. Probably other more technical chapters suffer from the same problem, but I did have some prior exposure to topics discussed there, so it's hard for me to tell.
Krishaan Khubchand
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Is it ever possible to have read a classic?
Is it ever possible to have read a piece of practical philosophy?

I’ve read parts of this book; other parts require more maturity, so I definitely see myself returning to this to try and pick up new ideas, tools, etc.
Jo
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: self-learning
Nice collection of anecdotes by a great scientist & engineer, but that's not what I was looking for. Still recommended if you like to read up on the history of engineering/computing sprinkled with some insights & heuristics on "how to science/engineer". ...more
Dzmitry Horbach
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
This book is nice to read before your career start. Though some content might be obsolete nowadays -
chapters 25-30 on system thinking, creativity and expertise are extremely valuable.
Kody
Mar 02, 2020 rated it did not like it
not helpful
Stefano Ottolenghi
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Indubbiamente ricco di saggezza.
Michal
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Make sure to read it more than once.
Thang
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
His chapters about artificial intelligence really stretched my mind.
His ideas are so original. The last chapter of the book is pure gold.

Andrew
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wish I had read this book 2-3 years ago.
Neil
Jun 07, 2020 marked it as to-read
More fun praise: https://twitter.com/philmohun/status/...

Consider getting the stripe press version
...more
Viktor Khotimcheko
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An inside Hamming's style of thinking. "Hamming on Hamming"
David Pretola
Dr. Richard Hamming does an excellent job describing the knowledge he learned over the course of his career in regards to becoming successful and a leader in ones field. The book was written as a text book for his graduate level capstone course at the Naval Postgraduate school. He tries to convey the knowledge that he had to learn the hard way over the course of his long career; he wish he had been taught these facts and he attempts to do just that in this text.

Since Hamming was a mathematician
...more
Jacqueline
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
A book everyone should read, even if they don't like the math. Mr. Hamming lived through the history of modern computing, and along the way acquired wisdom and stories, so skip the math if you like and read it for the rest. An excellent description of the limitations of science, and the value of the skeptical and learning mind. Loved it.
Lukasz
Feb 11, 2019 is currently reading it
Shelves: learning, recommended
recommendation: Patrick Collison https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/the-... ...more
Matthew
rated it it was amazing
Mar 07, 2016
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Professor Richard Wesley Hamming, Ph.D. (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1942; M.S., University of Nebraska, 1939; B.S., University of Chicago in 1937), was a mathematician whose work had many implications for computer science and telecommunications. His contributions include the Hamming code (which makes use of a Hamming matrix), the Hamming window (described in Section 5.8 of his boo ...more

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