Archive for November 7th, 2008

Some tips from Eshelby on doing research

November 7, 2008

From Bilby’s very enjoyable Foreword to the Collected works of J D Eshelby:

He chose with care the problems on which he worked, selecting those which were topical and difficult but just sufficiently tractable for solution at the time. He liked to think deeply about the implications of his calculations and his general advice about any problem was not to spoil it by undue haste: “Don’t rush it!” he would say. He was very conscious of the power of analytical methods in revealing relationships and it pleased him to puzzle out solutions; with tongue in cheek he would say that a numerical attach was “not quite fair”. One can only speculate what he might have done with the computing power now available.

The Foreword is only two pages; and, the entire piece is written in a similar style and gives a nice picture of Eshelby, the man.