How can I contribute to science and research if I have an average I.Q.?

3 Jun

This is a question from Quora

http://www.quora.com/Scientific-Research/How-can-I-contribute-to-science-and-research-if-I-have-an-average-I-Q

One answer from Andrew Thomas-Woolf half a polymath

You absolutely, positively have to read Richard Hamming’s speech (talk?) entitled “You and Your Research“.

I will quote just two paragraphs here:
“Now for the matter of drive. You observe that most great scientists have tremendous drive. I worked for ten years with John Tukey at Bell Labs. He had tremendous drive. One day about three or four years after I joined, I discovered that John Tukey was slightly younger than I was. John was a genius and I clearly was not. Well I went storming into Bode’s office and said, “How can anybody my age know as much as John Tukey does?” He leaned back in his chair, put his hands behind his head, grinned slightly, and said, “You would be surprised Hamming, how much you would know if you worked as hard as he did that many years.” I simply slunk out of the office!

What Bode was saying was this: “Knowledge and productivity are like compound interest.” Given two people of approximately the same ability and one person who works ten percent more than the other, the latter will more than twice outproduce the former. The more you know, the more you learn; the more you learn, the more you can do; the more you can do, the more the opportunity – it is very much like compound interest. I don’t want to give you a rate, but it is a very high rate. Given two people with exactly the same ability, the one person who manages day in and day out to get in one more hour of thinking will be tremendously more productive.

Another here:

My IQ is fairly average. I’m doing work in theoretical physics. Two things: don’t tell anyone, and build your confidence irrationally high when it comes to learning things.

By building irrationally high confidence I mean every time you sit down to learn something new knowjust know, that with effort you can understand any concept in mathematics or physics by understanding it in terms of some clunky, silly analogy. It sounds like you’ve done a little of this already. I’m here to tell you this method never stops working. With practice of this method your irrational confidence will become rational.  Read Quote of Anonymous’ answer to Scientific Research: How can I contribute to science and research if I have an average I.Q.? on Quora

What do you think

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