Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Small is Beautiful

For amusement I read John Grisham stories, and often enough he describes courtroom or boardroom scenes with the head honcho billing $300/hour and two or three associates billing $150/hour each; they are also billing the reams, literally, of paper charged out to the client. Bulk is money, say the lawyers.

But the most earth-shattering ideas are succinct enough to make my lips purse.

Case 1: Watson & Crick’s famous paper on DNA.

Watson JD, Crick FH (April 1953). "Molecular structure of nucleic acids; a structure for deoxyribose nucleic acid" (PDF). Nature 171 (4356): 737–738

Check it out. It fits onto a single sheet of A4 paper (“Letter” in the US) and changed the face of Biology. It didn’t derail Darwin; it reinforced his ideas and showed them to be ahead of his time.

Case 2: Edsger W.Dijkstra’s “ A Case against the GO TO Statement

It fits easily onto two pages, but I’ve seen condensation that fit on one.

I’ll augment this blog post with other examples as they come to my mind.

Talk to Me !

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