Inspired from You and Your Research

Important Work

Having some thoughts about what makes work important. Doing F1TENTH research, going down these rabbit holes and feeling like I’ve just been wasting time, doing unimportant work, is honestly discouraging.

Andrej Karpathy talks about this.

Richard Hamming talks it in “You and your research”.

To do important work, you need to work on important problems.

  • Richard Hamming: If you do not work on an important problem, it’s unlikely you’ll do important work.

Do Artists do important work?

Arguably yes. They make antidotes to despair.

Important Problems

Great scientists have thought through, in a careful way, a number of important problems in their field, and they keep an eye on wondering how to attack them.


If what you are working on is not important and not likely to lead to important things, then why are you working on it?

Important problems are ones, that when solved, will help humanity / your field progress?

It’s not the consequence that makes a problem important, it is that you have a reasonable attack (i.e. ways to approach it)

  • The average scientist spends almost all his time working on problems which he believes will not be important nor will lead to important problems

It is not what you do, it is how you do it.