Celebrating 20 Years on the Web
TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY ®
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index H > Richard Hamming Quotes > Problem

Thumbnail of Richard Hamming (source)
Richard Hamming
(11 Feb 1915 - 7 Jan 1998)

American computer scientist and mathematician who invented Hamming codes - computer error-detecting and correcting codes.


Richard Hamming Quotes on Problem (6 quotes)

>> Click for 23 Science Quotes by Richard Hamming

If you don’t work on important problems, it’s not likely that you'll do important work.
— Richard Hamming
As quoted in obituary for Richard Hamming, by Herschel H. Loomis and David S. Potter, in National Academy of Engineering, Memorial Tributes (2002), 123.
Science quotes on:  |  Do (1908)  |  Problem (679)  |  Work (1351)

It is better to do the right problem the wrong way than the wrong problem the right way.
— Richard Hamming
Quoted in Julie K. Petersen, Fiber Optics Illustrated Dictionary (2003), 435.
Science quotes on:  |  Better (488)  |  Do (1908)  |  Problem (679)  |  Right (452)  |  Solution (269)  |  Way (1216)  |  Wrong (234)

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.
— Richard Hamming
'You and Your Research', Bell Communications Research Colloquium Seminar, 7 Mar 1986.
Science quotes on:  |  Asset (6)  |  Change (595)  |  Course (408)  |  Defect (31)  |  Do (1908)  |  Great (1575)  |  Importance (287)  |  Other (2236)  |  Problem (679)  |  Result (678)  |  Scientist (825)  |  Study (656)  |  Studying (70)  |  Turn (447)  |  Way (1216)  |  Why (491)

One of the characteristics of successful scientists is having courage. Once you get your courage up and believe that you can do important problems, then you can. If you think you can't, almost surely you are not going to.
— Richard Hamming
'You and Your Research', Bell Communications Research Colloquium Seminar, 7 Mar 1986.
Science quotes on:  |  Characteristic (148)  |  Courage (70)  |  Do (1908)  |  Problem (679)  |  Scientist (825)  |  Success (303)  |  Successful (123)  |  Surely (101)  |  Think (1086)

Perhaps the central problem we face in all of computer science is how we are to get to the situation where we build on top of the work of others rather than redoing so much of it in a trivially different way.
— Richard Hamming
From Turing Award lecture (1968), 'One Man's View of Computer Science', collected in ACM Turing Award Lectures: The First Twenty Years, 1966 to 1985 (1987), 216. ACM is the Association for Computing Machinery. The lecture is also published in Journal of the ACM (Jan 1969), 16, No. 1, 10.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Build (204)  |  Building (156)  |  Center (33)  |  Central (80)  |  Computer (127)  |  Computer Science (11)  |  Difference (337)  |  Different (577)  |  Face (212)  |  Other (2236)  |  Problem (679)  |  Science (3880)  |  Situation (113)  |  Top (96)  |  Trivial (57)  |  Way (1216)  |  Work (1351)

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.
— Richard Hamming
'You and Your Research', Bell Communications Research Colloquium Seminar, 7 Mar 1986.
Science quotes on:  |  Career (76)  |  Continue (165)  |  Do (1908)  |  Early (186)  |  Error (321)  |  Fail (185)  |  Fame (50)  |  Find (999)  |  Great (1575)  |  Grow (238)  |  Hard (243)  |  Information (166)  |  Little (708)  |  Oak (14)  |  Oak Tree (3)  |  Plant (295)  |  Problem (679)  |  Reason (744)  |  Recognition (88)  |  Right (452)  |  Scientist (825)  |  Small (479)  |  Theory (972)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Tree (246)  |  Try (283)  |  Way (1216)  |  Why (491)  |  Work (1351)


See also:
  • 11 Feb - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Hamming's birth.
  • Richard Hamming - context of quote “Engineering is concerned with choosing, from among the many possible ways” - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Richard Hamming - context of quote “Engineering is concerned with choosing, from among the many possible ways” - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Richard Hamming - context of quote “Mathematics is an interesting intellectual sport” - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Richard Hamming - context of quote “Mathematics is an interesting intellectual sport” - Large image (800 x 600 px)

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
Quotations by:Albert EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about:Atomic  BombBiologyChemistryDeforestationEngineeringAnatomyAstronomyBacteriaBiochemistryBotanyConservationDinosaurEnvironmentFractalGeneticsGeologyHistory of ScienceInventionJupiterKnowledgeLoveMathematicsMeasurementMedicineNatural ResourceOrganic ChemistryPhysicsPhysicianQuantum TheoryResearchScience and ArtTeacherTechnologyUniverseVolcanoVirusWind PowerWomen ScientistsX-RaysYouthZoology  ... (more topics)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History pages:
Visit our Science and Scientist Quotations index for more Science Quotes from archaeologists, biologists, chemists, geologists, inventors and inventions, mathematicians, physicists, pioneers in medicine, science events and technology.

Names index: | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

Categories index: | 1 | 2 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |
- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton


by Ian Ellis
who invites your feedback
Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.