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by Michael Nielsen on July 18, 2004

Via – d – I discover Edsger Dijkstra’s three golden rules for scientific research. It’s all interesting, but I particularly liked the first rule:

Raise your quality standards as high as you can live with, avoid wasting your time on routine roblems, and always try to work as closely as possible at the boundary of your abilities. Do this, because it is the only way of discovering how that boundary should be moved forward.

There’s a lot of truth in that.

The pedant in me can’t resist quibbling, at least a little: if you haven’t had a lot of success recently (or ever), spending some time on routine problems can help raise your morale, ensure you stay or come into contact with your community of researchers, and – most important – means that you earn your keep.

From → General

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