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The Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  144 ratings  ·  18 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 ...more
Paperback, 376 pages
Published October 28th 1997 by CRC Press (first published January 31st 1996)
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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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.

Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wish I had read this book 2-3 years ago.
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
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.
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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 ...more
“What you learn from others you can use to follow.
What you learn for yourself you can use to lead.”
“Vicarious learning from the experiences of others saves making errors yourself, but I regard the study of successes as being basically more important than the study of failures. There are so many ways of being wrong and so few of being right, studying successes is more efficient.” 3 likes
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