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The Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  782 ratings  ·  95 reviews
Provides the reader with a style of thinking that will enhance a person's ability to function as a problem-solver of complex technical issues. Consists of a collection of stories about the author's participation in significant discoveries, relating how those discoveries came about and, most importantly, provides analysis about the thought processes and reasoning that took ...more
Kindle Edition
Published May 26th 2020 (first published January 31st 1996)
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☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
The unexamined life is not worth living. (c)
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
Nick Black
Aug 01, 2009 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
Original 2019 Review: 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 go
Sergiu Ciumac
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Richard Hamming was a leading computational scientist with significant contributions to Computer Science, Networks and many other fields.

This book is a collection of lectures given by him (titled Learning to Learn) at the US Naval Postgraduate College. The source videos (of low quality) are available at YouTube. The videos are pretty excellent!

I skipped a few chapters on Electrical Engineering when they were too technical. But the rest of chapters were top notch! Hamming casually throws around p
Apr 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was an inspiration read, it makes we want to brush up on my algebra and calculus. Despite not following all the mathematics, Hamming shares prophetic wisdom considering it was published in 1996. The book is a collections of essays where Hamming shares his experience as a scientist and researcher that guided his career at Bell Laboratories and work in computing creating error correction codes, among many other projects. Hamming offers advice on managing a career, focusing on doing high quali ...more
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Nick Black
there's a lot of wisdom here. ...more
This is a fairly niche book which presents itself as Hamming teaching a meta class on how to be successful in your scientific and engineering focused career. Taking a brief glance around the classroom, it seems that many people have pretty unqualified praise for this work. I’m not sure they are quite accurate. While all books are read by a self-selected group, BooksWithMath™are an even more hyper-selected group. Thus, there is going to be a propensity for them to inflate the overall score of the ...more
Apr 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tech
"Is programming closer to novel writing than it is to classical engineering?" I am amazed how he posed the question in the 90's when the primary language in business was still C and FORTRAN!

This book was basically a peek into Hamming's remarkable work ethic. If you are interested in his approach towards science in general I recommend his famous talk: You and Your Research, which is how I found this book.
Romeo Stevens
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lots of skippable stuff for non technical audiences, but the first few and last few chapters are goldmines for anyone.
Jacob Williams
May 20, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sort of a weird mix of general thoughts and highly technical information. I have no idea what the chapters on digital filters were even about, and was starting to wonder if the rest of the book would be a waste of time due to lacking the right background knowledge, but fortunately it goes back to higher-level discussions after that.

Some of the most interesting points to me:

- Consciously try to predict the future of your field; Hamming set aside a specific time each week to think about the future
Denis Romanovsky
Dec 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
A sort of a good leadership book, and I keep feeling I'm not fond of leadership books.

The author is a respected person with lots of experience and wisdom. He explains how computing changed science and engineering, how such changes may continue, how new paradigma in science may replace the old one and what obstacles it gets on the way. It was quite interesting about the role of experts, systems engineering, work with data and measuring, some good notes on creativity and focus in your career.

Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book was a nice read and had a lot of interesting ideas. I skipped a few chapters that were too technical for me (like Quantum Mechanics) but the first few and the last few chapters were less technical and full of insights.
I learned more about the history of computing and how little many aspects of computer science have changed during the last 30 years.
Graham Annett
Apr 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
seems like a book i should reread every few years
Barack Liu
May 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

330-The Art of Doing Science and Engineering-Richard Hamming-Science-1996


" The Art of Doing Science and Engineering ", first edition in 1996. It explores efficient thinking methods. The author proposes ways of enhancing people's thinking to solve complex technical problems by thinking about how failure affects the thinking process.

Richard Hamming was born in Chicago, Illinois, US in 1915 and died in 1998. Studied at the University of Chicago, University of Nebraska, the Univer
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
William Schram
Richard W Hamming discusses the importance of staying ahead of the curve in science and engineering. He uses experiences from his life to talk about how to achieve and succeed in these fields. The central theme is weathering the future. Hamming recommends investing in yourself and focusing on the most significant issues your profession has.
Lei Wang
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very systematic view of doing science and engineering. Very inspiring book for researchers in more principled way to do research and self-development.
Anmol Saini
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For professor Hamming the whole world was an equation and he was solving it one part at a time. A unique perspective on few of the engineering problems.
Tom Lee
It would be absurd to call this book a work of genius if not for the fact that Richard Hamming was one. A key part of Bell Labs’ heyday, Hamming was a mathematician’s mathematician: the guy called in to help a researcher punch up their equations or, as his department came to employ and manage computers, the guy who could translate your problem into one the machine could ponder (he also seems to have been the guy who could allocate you the machine time to have the pondering performed).

This put Ha
Marcelo Bahia
A very interesting book when you take into account the context and year it was written, even though its style feels outdated nowadays. The lessons in here are timeless, it’s just that so many after Hamming have repeated them ad nauseam that a few of the takeaways are not so surprising anymore.

The book is very recommended to students and researchers everywhere. The author wants to inspire readers that work is only worth when you’re trying to produce excellent work, and he wants to help you with
Bohdan Kit
Richard Hamming is an outstanding figure in the history of technology. I think that programmers may recognize his name from the Hamming codes, which allow you to detect and correct errors in bits of information.

But his achievements are not limited to this. He inspired many people to discover new things by teaching them the “style of thinking” through which innovative ideas are born.

Working with Feynman, Fermi, and Oppenheimer on a nuclear bomb, Hamming sought to understand the qualities of these
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jaysen Huculak
Aug 22, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2021
Would have been foundational for me when going into Computing Science and I wish that I had read it at the time. Reading it 20 years later I have different choices to make and more decisions to reflect on. This book is more relevant now than 20 years ago. Pairing this with Art Matters from Neil Gaiman was a treat. This book is the Science and Engineering version of style and finding your own voice or purpose. Our grey matter is there to penetrate the mysteries of the unknown.

Many of the predict
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 12, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty interesting parts, but also a lot of rambling and a lot of kind of weird dives into algebra that I should have skimmed more aggressively. He seems like a pretty aggressively single-minded person, not sure that's the kind of person everyone should aspire to be.
Some takeaways:
- set aside an afternoon periodically to think about broad trends and big trends in your field, or you will be working on the wrong questions
- keep broadening the scope of your question as you gain comfort in the fie
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
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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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“What you learn from others you can use to follow.
What you learn for yourself you can use to lead.”
“I need to discuss science vs. engineering. Put glibly:
In science if you know what you are doing you should not be doing it.
In engineering if you do not know what you are doing you should not be doing it.”
More quotes…