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I was reading about the documentary movie The Bit Player about the father of information theory, Claude Shannon.

Reading this and watching the trailer reminded me of a book called The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation by Jon Gertner which traces the origins of some of the most important ideas of the twentieth century within Shannon’s employer, Bell Labs. One part of the book that’s stays with me was about the importance of questioning in order to develop new ideas.

In the midst of [Claude] Shannon’s career, some lawyers in the patent department at Bell Labs decided to study whether there was an organizing principle that could explain why certain individuals at the Labs were more productive than others. They discerned only one common thread: Workers with the most patents often shared lunch or breakfast with a Bell Labs electrical engineer named Harry Nyquist. It wasn’t the case that Nyquist gave them specific ideas. Rather, as one scientist recalled,”he drew people out, got them thinking.” More than anything, Nyquist asked good questions.”

I am now always really pleased when someone says to me that’s a really good question.”

Posted on May 22, 2019   #Science  






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