- Hardcover: 376 pages
- Publisher: CRC Press; 1 edition (October 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9056995006
- ISBN-13: 978-9056995003
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,608,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn 1st Edition
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The book has math, but it is not completely a math text book. You must be willing to read the math: if you aren't, you don't deserve to buy one of the finite numbers of this book, save your money, don't hoard it, used it won't command a great price (trust me I know). Buy it as a gift for mathematically inclined people or institutions.
Hamming is best known for his work in the 40s on algebraic coding theory (a small part of the book). He writes a bit about acoustics and computation (that's the science part, but that's not why Hamming wrote the book). I know, because we talked about it.
Forgive a brief story: after my abstract algebra class which included a unit on coding theory, I met one of the most incredible women in science, Cynthia Irvine (and her husband Nelson) when she asked if I wanted to meet Hamming at the Naval Post Grad School. So we had lunch. Why tell you this? Because the reader should know why Hamming taught at the NPS and why he wrote this book: it was because as a teacher he wanted to have the greatest effect possible and wanted to have some of the best students, whom he concluded (post graduate education) were future admirals and generals. (Yes: this means Richard kind of gave up on primary, secondary, and undergraduate education.)
Hamming, in discussion, concluded his life thinking "the best tool to teach thinking was to teach the calculus." But this is also not a calculus book (a small amount inside on a mathematical tool which only 1% of the population uses). The "art" isn't painting or the so called "fine arts"; you won't find any of that in the art section of this book. Hamming was trying to apply his science to wider life and world problems.
I stayed in touch with Hamming over the final two decades of this life. We shared other friends when most of the science world passed him by. He insisted in always setting some time aside to "think great thoughts", so at NASA I helped set up a set of informal afternoon meetings we called "HAM: Hamming's Alternate Musings" and had Richard come for the first and various later meetings. The reader won't have the capability to do that. The book has flaws, but so does any work. Richard is gone. This book is now the best you can do.
Here's a quote from the book:
"""At Los Alamos I was brought in to run the computing machines which other people had got going, so those scientists and physicists could get back to business. I saw I was a stooge. I saw that although physically I was the same, they were different. And to put the thing bluntly, I was envious. I wanted to know why they were so different from me. I saw Feynman up close. I saw Fermi and Teller. I saw Oppenheimer. I saw Hans Bethe: he was my boss. I saw quite a few very capable people. I became very interested in the difference between those who do and those who might have done."""
Hamming describes the difference between those who do, and those who might have done. He also clearly tells you how you can be one of those who do. Read this book.
I keep looking at the Kindle version--which is at least three times more than I care to pay for a book that has flaws in its execution.
The flaws can be seen if you download the sample. Mathematical formulas translate just fine, which sometimes is a problem with math-heavy books, but after the first few formulas, there is a graphic which is useless--only the text made it into the book. From reading the surrounding text, these missing graphics leave the book sorely unsatisfactory.
The publisher could have done a much better job--and they could turn this text over to Dover so they could satisfy the demand for paper copies of this classic.