I was farting around on the internet this afternoon, and ran across this piece from one of my old bosses…On the Process of Becoming a Great Scientist
Morgan C Giddings, PLoS Computational Biology, Feb 2008
In the Editorial “Ten Simple Rules for Doing Your Best Research, According to Hamming” , Erren and colleagues discussed ten ideas originally presented by Hamming for how to do great science. I am grateful that the authors started this discussion. Scientific careers are very challenging, and there is a lack of training in many graduate programs to provide this kind of career meta-advice. Such discussions are a good starting point, and young scientists should take them seriously.
In the vein of promoting further debate and discussion, I provide here a different and perhaps deeper look at what makes a successful scientist. While I can’t claim to have the reputation of Hamming, I grew up in a family of well-known scientists, and have had plenty of chances to observe the trajectories of scientific careers over my lifetime. Based on that experience, I propose the following as a somewhat distinct set of guidelines for doing the best research: