What inspires a great idea? Can we train our thinking to develop world-changing understandings and insights? Richard Hamming would say yes. In The Art of Doing Science and Engineering, he elaborates on his seminal essay “You and Your Research,” a provocative challenge to anyone who wants to build something great, and offers a manual of style for how to get there. Playfully framed as a textbook, and rich in its recounting of influential individuals like Albert Einstein and Grace Hopper, this unorthodox memoir by the seminal mathematician and engineer encourages the reader to aspire to, learn from, and surpass the achievements of yesterday’s greatest minds. This edition includes the original 1996 compilation of Hamming’s lectures for the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, along with a new foreword by designer and engineer Bret Victor and more than 70 redrawn graphs and charts.
Richard W. Hamming (1915–1998) was a scientist and mathematician who discovered formulas that allow computers to correct their own errors. He provided crucial programming support to the Manhattan Project, and later joined Bell Labs. In 1968, he received the Turing Award, the highest honor in computer science.
Hamming is here to tell you about excellence. His lessons unfold through personal stories of discovery and failure—life as an extraordinary scientist. But Hamming demands that you do extraordinary work, too, and for that he offers the best advice I know.
software engineer, designer, and researcher
Hamming was always as much a teacher as a scientist, and, having spent a lifetime forming and confirming a theory of great people, he felt he could prepare the next generation for even greater greatness. That’s the premise and promise of this book.
founder of Dynamicland
Your last chance to read the thinking of one of the major intellects that the U.S.A. has produced.
Eugene N. Miya
[Hamming] was one of the last geniuses who believed in innovation as a shared public project.
New Yorker, which named The Art of Doing Science and Engineering a best book of 2020