Do these questions sound familiar?
What are the important problems of your field?
What important problems are you working on?
If what you are doing is not important, and if you don’t think it is going to lead to something important, why are you … working on it?
They come from a 1986 speech by mathematician and Turing award winner Richard Hamming. Hamming originally asked them in the dining hall at Bell Labs, but they have since inspired other people who are interested in finding the best way to spend their work hours.