Often the great scientists, by turning the problem around a bit, changed a defect to an asset. For example, many scientists when they found they couldn't do a problem finally began to study why not. They then turned it around the other way and said, "But of course, this is what it is" and got an important result.
When you are famous it is hard to work on small problems. This is what did Shannon in. After information theory, what do you do for an encore? The great scientists often make this error. They fail to continue to plant the little acorns from which the mighty oak trees grow. They try to get the big thing right off. And that isn't the way things go. So that is another reason why you find that when you get early recognition it seems to sterilize you.
famous quoteshard quoteswork quotessmall quotesproblems quotesshannon quotesinformation quotestheory quotesencore quotesgreat quotesscientists quotesmake quoteserror quotesfail quotescontinue quotesplant quotesacorns quotesmighty quotesoak quotestrees quotesgrow quotesbig quotesthing quotesthings quotesreason quotesfind quotesearly quotesrecognition quotessterilize quotes
Most people like to believe something is or is not true. Great scientists tolerate ambiguity very well. They believe the theory enough to go ahead; they doubt it enough to notice the errors and faults so they can step forward and create the new replacement theory. If you believe too much you'll never notice the flaws; if you doubt too much you won't get started. It requires a lovely balance.
Most of the time each person is immersed in the details of one special part of the whole and does not think of how what they are doing relates to the larger picture. For example, in education, a teacher might say in the next class he was going to "explain Young's modulus and how to measure it," rather than, "I am going to educate the students and prepare them for their future careers".
A parable: A man was examining the construction of a cathedral. He asked a stone mason what he was doing chipping the stones, and the mason replied, "I am making stones." He asked a stone carver what he was doing. "I am carving a gargoyle." And so it went, each person said in detail what they were doing. Finally he came to an old woman who was sweeping the ground. She said. "I am helping build a cathedral." ...Most of the time each person is immersed in the details of one special part of the whole and does not think of how what they are doing relates to the larger picture.
parable quotesman quotesexamining quotesconstruction quotescathedral quotesasked quotesstone quotesmason quoteschipping quotesstones quotesreplied quotesmaking quotesstones quotescarver quotescarving quotesgargoyle quotesperson quotesdetail quotesfinally quoteswoman quotessweeping quotesground quoteshelping quotesbuild quotescathedral quotestime quotesimmersed quotesdetails quotesspecial quotespart quotesrelates quoteslarger quotespicture quotes
When you are famous it is hard to work on small problems. This is what did [Claude Elwood] Shannon in. After information theory, what do you do for an encore? The great scientists often make this error. They fail to continue to plant the little acorns from which the mighty oak trees grow. They try to get the big thing right off. And that isn't the way things go. So that is another reason why you find that when you get early recognition it seems to sterilize you.
famous quoteshard quoteswork quotessmall quotesproblems quotesclaude quoteselwood quotesshannon quotesinformation quotestheory quotesencore quotesgreat quotesscientists quotesmake quoteserror quotesfail quotescontinue quotesplant quotesacorns quotesmighty quotesoak quotestrees quotesgrow quotesbig quotesthing quotesthings quotesreason quotesfind quotesearly quotesrecognition quotessterilize quotes
I have tried, with little success, to get some of my friends to understand my amazement that the abstraction of integers for counting is both possible and useful. Is it not remarkable that 6 sheep plus 7 sheep makes 13 sheep; that 6 stones plus 7 stones make 13 stones? Is it not a miracle that the universe is so constructed that such a simple abstraction as a number is possible? To me this is one of the strongest examples of the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics. Indeed, I find it both strange and unexplainable.
success quotesfriends quotesunderstand quotesamazement quotesabstraction quotesintegers quotescounting quotesremarkable quotes6 quotessheep quotes7 quotesmakes quotes13 quotessheep quotesstones quotesmake quotesstones quotesmiracle quotesuniverse quotesconstructed quotessimple quotesnumber quotesstrongest quotesexamples quotesunreasonable quoteseffectiveness quotesmathematics quotesfind quotesstrange quotesunexplainable quotes
Knowledge and productivity are like compound interest. The more you know, the more you learn; the more you learn, the more you can do; the more you can do, the more the opportunity. I don't want to give you a rate, but it is a very high rate. Given two people with exactly the same ability, the one person who manages day in and day out to get in one more hour of thinking will be tremendously more productive over a lifetime.
If you want to think new thoughts that are different, then do what creative people do - get the problem reasonably clear and then refuse to look at any answers until you've thought the problem through carefully how you would do it, how you could slightly change the problem to be the correct one.