Category Miscellaneous

FEYNMAN: ‘DO NOT REMAIN NAMELESS TO YOURSELF’

When the physicist Richard Feynman asked a former student what he was up to, he received a dejected response: the former student was now working on what he felt were unimportant (‘humble’) questions. I expect many people engaged in research will find Feynman’s reply as comforting as I do: I have worked on innumerable problems […]

FIRST ENCOUNTER

The impulse upon reading something new to immediately chase references and gather commentaries, like a paratrooper scrambling for cover in enemy territory, can be an efficient strategy for academic survival. But for all that is gained by situating an unfamiliar argument in broader discussion and surveying existing positions before arriving at one’s own, it is […]