Shannon said: follow curiosity

  Shannon’s ability to achieve so many epoch-making achievements with his own power is of course inseparable from his outstanding genius. As soon as genius is mentioned, many people sigh to Furu, thinking that genius can only stand up to people. But in fact, the term “genius” also contains a lot of very ordinary and ordinary things. If we are good at learning and learning, we can also increase our talents and creativity.
  Here, we would like to talk about Shannon’s strong curiosity throughout his life. Yes, everyone is a little more or less curious in their lifetime, but it is very rare to be able to maintain a lifetime like Shannon. And Shannon’s work art comes down to this: just follow curiosity anytime, anywhere, and never waste time on people and things that you are not interested in.
  Curiosity widely
  in the social division of labor has been very were thin today, most people tend to put their own interests to focus on a narrow area, but the opposite happens Shannon, his curiosity and interest are “wide net” type of. It is his characteristic to cover a wide range, and then to make achievements in various fields.
  In Shannon’s life, the biggest influence on him was Van Neva Bush, his mentor while he was a graduate student at MIT. Bush once said: “In this age of increasing professionalism, we should remind ourselves that the possibility of both depth and breadth like Da Vinci or Benjamin Franklin still exists. As teachers, we should be good at discovering And guide those talented young people, don’t let them limit their lives to work on one-third of an acre. ”
  Bush also guided Shannon. After Shannon’s master’s thesis was so successful, he urged Shannon to prepare a doctoral dissertation in theoretical genetics. Theoretical genetics is an area that Shannon has never been involved in, far from the fields of engineering and mathematics he has been engaged in for many years. It would probably be rejected by someone else, but Shannon readily accepted it.
  We know: Broad-suggested advice now looks a little out of date. Pressures in all areas require us to cultivate ourselves as experts in a certain field, in order to allow ourselves to be invincible. But many times, God often makes jokes with people: you want to specialize, but you do n’t necessarily become an expert; like Shannon, you are involved in a wide range of studies, calmly conduct research, and promote mutual learning in all aspects. In the end, it seemed to be everywhere and became a top expert in many fields.
  In addition, scientists who are generally not well-known are reluctant to invest time in what they call “naive problems” because they value their image in the eyes of the world. Shannon, driven by curiosity, was willing to do those “childish” things. Throughout his long life, Shannon has been tirelessly devoted to the fields that “famous” scientists disdain: toy robots, chess, juggling, unicycles; he also built machines that play juggling balls, and when playing Spitfire. Even if doing all this could undermine his prestige in the academic world and be regarded as a bad job, he didn’t care. For him, “freedom” and “whatever he wants” are the important things.
  Regardless of the time, just by interest
  widely covered also means that there must be free of want government stop. Doing things at the wrong start and ending seems to be a taboo in the eyes of the world. But for Shannon, the pursuit of fun in the work is the most important. “Want to stop” is not his weak will, but his interest has shifted. He would rather let himself be led by his nose than by interest, rather than stick to his head in the absence of interest.
  Shannon’s wide interest made some of his work stop and some ideas took a long time to mature. For example, when Shannon graduated from graduate school in 1939, he had the idea of ​​studying information transmission, but during World War II, he participated in the research on antiaircraft guns and cryptography, so that he could only study information theory in his spare time. .
  But “amateur” simply means timing. In fact, the idea of ​​information theory has never been absent from his mind for a moment. The moment of maturity finally arrived. “I remember waking up one night at midnight, and suddenly I had an idea, and then I was studying it all night,” Shannon recalled.
  This is no wonder that when his information dissertation was published, it seemed “thrown into a bomb” in academia. Because this is the result of ten years of research, and Shannon’s patience made his theory flawless.
  Confusion is not necessarily a bad thing
  a person visited Hong farmhouse, once described Shannon’s studio: “This is simply a grocery store, there are hundreds of mechanical and electronic equipment, such as motors, transistors, switches, pulleys, gears, Condensers, transformers, and so on, are cluttered on the ground, on the table, on the shelf. “Shannon did the same in academic research. His attic was stuffed with notes, half-written articles, and report papers with “good questions.” These things took a lot of time to clean up after his death.
  This is again the result of Shannon’s wild curiosity that day: interest has shifted, and he would rather stop and wait, do something else first, rather than stick to it.
  Many people may regret Shannon ’s unfinished work, but on the other hand, we also need to realize that it may be this kind of chaos that inspired him to create. Because human inspiration is a wonderful thing: for some people, a well-organized environment can inspire inspiration; for others, it is a certain degree of chaos to stimulate them. With Shannon’s cleverness, he must know which is more beneficial to his work. Besides, if he spends his time and energy finishing papers and studios, he will not be able to energeticly and widely.
  Live, work only with interest as the center
  to let curiosity prolonged, enduring strong, in addition to interest-centric work outside, Shannon also good not to be distracted to do things that do not interest.
  According to his colleagues, even during work, the door of Shannon’s office was often closed because he paid great attention to his quiet thinking time. But he is not difficult. When a colleague knocks on the door with a new idea or problem, he usually has a heated discussion with the other party, sometimes even for hours at a time.
  Compared to the mid-20th century where Shannon was, our lives are more colorful now. But things like social media and smartphones are constantly distracting us. I do n’t see him, many of us have become WeChat control, QQ control and computer game control. Distractions reduce the efficiency of work and study in a small way, and reduce creativity in a big way—because creativity cannot be separated from a high concentration of spirit.
  Shannon has never been a “control”-of course, you can also say that he is “inventing a control”. For example, he never let himself spend too much time checking emails (not emails at that time). And with his great name, of course, all kinds of mail, greeting cards, invitations are flying. He politely throws emails he doesn’t want to reply into the trash.
  Work is more important than honor
  his life, Shannon always keep a distance with any honor, because to attract him, it is the work itself, rather than the reward obtained after work.
  When Shannon was in his 30s, he was already the most dazzling star in American science. His information theory became the most fashionable word at that time, from geology to politics to musicology, all disciplines can’t wait to use it to explain everything.
  It would be overwhelming to see this happen with someone else. However, when Shannon was the strongest, he urged everyone to reduce his praise: “(information theory) has become too famous … information theory has become a bit like a panacea.” At the same time, Shannon suggested that engineers and mathematicians pay attention Putting back the research itself: “If information theory is a commodity, it has already been sold-we should now continue to focus on the highest possible level of research work.”
  Shannon was indifferent to fame and fortune throughout his life. He always shirk away from receiving awards. Those letters inviting him to the lecture will be put in the trash. He had been awarded many honorary degrees, but he hung those doctoral clothes on a device similar to a rotating tie rack.
  Inspired by a strong curiosity
  for people engaged in creative work, the inspiration of course are extremely valuable. But how do you get inspired?
  Shannon’s view is that inspiration comes from a strong motivation inside. He told the engineers at Bell Labs: A sign of a great scientific mind is not that every minute is thinking, but that there is a strong motivation inside. Some kind of desire to find the answer … Without this, even if you have all the skills and wisdom in the world, you will not ask questions, and of course it will not be possible to find answers.
  Shannon’s description of genius is also refreshing: a genius is just a person who vents his anger in useful places. If you stumble upon something that bothers you and looks weird and tangled, please don’t run away from those moments and follow up at all costs.
  Shannon’s “motivation” and “worry” here are actually curiosities in scientific research. Like a child, life is always full of endless curiosity, which is the secret of Shannon’s great achievements.