Monday, 8 October 2012

Nobel prize winner was told at school he had no chance in the sciences

Today John Gurdon must be a very pleased man at having jointly won the Nobel prize in medicine and a little bemused at the emergence of a school report from when he was 15 saying:

"I believe Gurdon has ideas about becoming a scientist; on his present showing this is quite ridiculous; if he can't learn simple biological facts he would have no chance of doing the work of a specialist, and it would be a sheer waste of time, both on his part and of those who would have to teach him."

But he seems to possess a great sense of humour, as the BBC reports:
Sir John Gurdon is relishing the story about his failings at school and how his teachers ridiculed any notion that he might pursue a career as a scientist. Dressed casually in a sweater, and rushed from his labs in Cambridge to face the world's media, a fine sense of humour allowed him to take today's tumult in his stride. When I met him, he admitted to being bemused that a Nobel attracted so much more attention than any other prize. I asked what he thought of the 50-year gap between publishing his ground-breaking paper, in 1962, and winning the award only now. Actually, he said, the experiment on the frog cells was carried out back in 1958 - "rather a long time ago", but he said, with infinite patience, that science works best by making sure one's theories are right.

I just loved this story and wanted to share!

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