If an ape can make a discovery, so can you.
Richard P. Feynman
as quoted in this book
What do you think about this quote?
While writing the research papers one quite often needs to get back to the full texts of old (pre-Internet or at least pre-arXiv) references. Of course, having access to a good library and/or the interlibrary loan usually solves the problem but can be somewhat time- and cost-consuming.
It is not that well known, however, that there is a fair chance to find the old paper or preprint you need online for free. Of course, the first thing to try is Google or perhaps another search engine of your choosing. However, if this does not work, you still have a fighting chance, at least as far physics and mathematics are concerned. The places to try are:
All items but KISS are purely mathematical databases (to be precise, MathNet.Ru includes several physics, mechanics and mathematical physics journals as well).
If you know of other similar databases (be it in physics, mathematics, life sciences,…), please feel free to drop a comment with the relevant link(s).
Choosing a research problem to work on is a tough decision to make, and the relevant advice is rather scarce.
So far I have found only a handful of reasonably looking tips:
The last three tips are somewhat of a common wisdom and can be found in a number of places; see e.g. the article Choosing a research topic by Richard Reis, which contains some further interesting thoughts on the subject.
Apparently the jury is still out on this issue but the links below provide some encouragement:
S. Weinberg: Scientist: Four golden lessons
R.P. Feynman: A Letter to a Former Student
J.D. Watson: Succeeding in Science: Some Rules of Thumb
(see also his book Avoid Boring People)
A. Ciechanover: Nuggets of Career Advice
The above materials make for an interesting comparison with the advice from the Fields medal winner Terence Tao.