Talk:Richard Hamming

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Hagiographic quote[edit]

Taking this out of the article as it fails WP:OR, but it seems worthwhile keeping around. ~ trialsanderrors 05:25, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

All of Hamming's books have a distinctive and engaging pedagogical style, in that he always attempts to motivate the mathematical discussion -- i.e. not just "here's this mathematical method", but also "here's why you should care about this method." Fans of his books would probably also like Saunders MacLane's overview of mathematics, Mathematics: Form and Function (Springer-Verlag, 1986).

Quotes section[edit]

I have removed this section full of un-sourced, paraphrased, and misquoted statements (for a second time). The removal is currently reverted and it is time to discuss particulars. Firstly, as a general principle, direct quotations need specific citations, and indirect attributions should be clearly identified as such if they are to be included at all. (For the source mentioned in the reversion edit summary but not cited in the current article see this link, hereinafter referred to as "todayinsci".)

  1. "Machines should work...." [citation needed]
    • No citation given.
  2. "Does anyone believe..." [not in citation given]
    • Not a quote: this is clearly identified as a paraphrase in todayinsci.
  3. "There are wavelengths..."
    • The cited attribution in an introduction by Alan G. Chynoweth is a misquote. See the actual, much more profound quote from "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics" (1980) at Wikiquote, with full citation.
  4. "The purpose of computing..."
    • I have not examined the source cited in the lede section. In any event, it is redundant to quote it twice in the article.
  5. "Newton said,..." [not in citation given]
    • Not an exact quote, this has been slightly modified from the cited 1986 source. See Hamming's first, and arguably more eloquent, published statement regarding this in his 1968 Turing Award lecture at Wikiquote, with full citation.
  6. "What are the most important..." [not in citation given]
    • This is not in the citation given. It is not even a close paraphrase.
  7. "The Institute for Advanced Study..."
    • Ok, this is an actual quote. However, it needs a bit of context to indicate what he was talking about. I.e., that "When you are famous it is hard to work on small problems [...] when you get early recognition it seems to sterilize you."
  8. "It is better to solve..." [citation needed]
    • No citation given. This is cited to a secondhand attribution in todayinsci.
  9. "Beware of finding..."
    • Ok, the cited source claims to be a firsthand report by a blogger. However, it is hardly original to Hamming: this bit of folk wisdom is as old as the hills, and twice as dusty.
  10. "You cannot have..." [citation needed]
    • No citation given.

In summary, we have one quote that is redundant with the lede, one provocative statement taken out of context, one unoriginal proverb, and all the rest are unverified or verifiably wrong. I think this is valid grounds for removing the section. Not that I have anything against quotes—I am an active Wikiquotian—just unverifiable ones and misquotes. ~ Ningauble (talk) 20:04, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

The "insight" quotation is correct. See [1], pg. 3 (as internally numbered); the lede correctly refers to an earlier appearance of it in the physical book that appears to be blocked at preview, but it's reproduced on pg. 3. This is a well-known and influential quotation and I would strongly argue that it should remain. Hamming was an important and influential figure more generally, but it's not clear to me that the remaining quotes are needed. JJL (talk) 20:24, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
I have no objection to keeping the "insight" quote in the lede. He was indeed influential, and eloquent to boot, which is why I created the Wikiquote article. More well sourced quotes would be welcome there. ~ Ningauble (talk) 20:34, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

I've tracked through these quotes. One paraphrase was changed to say what Hamming actually said. Sources are tracked down. Some quotes are not original to Hamming and have been labeled as such. Brews ohare (talk) 21:34, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

suggested addition[edit]

I'm here because I read an extended version of "In research...":

Education is what, when, and why to do things. Training is how to do it. In science, if you know what you are doing, you should not be doing it. In engineering, if you do not know what you are doing, you should not be doing it. Of course, you seldom, if ever, see either pure state.

The Art of Doing Science and Engineering

I hesitate to add it without seeing the book itself. —Tamfang (talk) 17:48, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Richard Hamming/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Chiswick Chap (talk · contribs) 12:52, 12 September 2014 (UTC)


What an interesting article. I'll take this on. Chiswick Chap (talk) 12:52, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

Rate Attribute Review Comment
1. Well-written:
1a. the prose is clear and concise, it respects copyright laws, and the spelling and grammar are correct. Well written and clear throughout. I have fixed a few minor errors.
1b. it complies with the manual of style guidelines for lead sections, layout, words to watch, fiction, and list incorporation. Lead ok; layout ok; weasel: none; fiction: n/a; lists: n/a
2. Verifiable with no original research:
2a. it contains a list of all references (sources of information), presented in accordance with the layout style guideline. Properly formatted references. Some duplication with Bibliography (i.e. Works) could be an issue at FA.
2b. it provides in-line citations from reliable sources for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons—science-based articles should follow the scientific citation guidelines. Fully cited throughout
2c. it contains no original research. No sign of it
3. Broad in its coverage:
3a. it addresses the main aspects of the topic. Clearly covers Hamming's life and principal achievements.
3b. it stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail (see summary style). Excellent focus, even level of detail
4. Neutral: it represents viewpoints fairly and without bias, giving due weight to each. Balanced throughout
5. Stable: it does not change significantly from day to day because of an ongoing edit war or content dispute. No sign of instability; detailed recent work by nominator.
6. Illustrated, if possible, by images:
6a. images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content. Lead image with valid NFUR; other image on Commons
6b. images are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions. Relevant images. I've added the caption from the Commons image of Hamming distance as it seems to help.
7. Overall assessment. A crisp and clear biographical article on an important figure in engineering of the 20th century. Good to see it as a GA.