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Wole Soyinka

Nobel Prize for Literature

Wole Soyinka: From childhood, I'd always been interested in theater. I used to gather my siblings and perform sketches based on stories, folktales, and sometimes even improvised comic turns in which we mimicked the adults around us and their peculiar ways and so on. And then I took part in a school operetta quite early, very early. I took the lead part. It was called The Magician. And so I'd always been -- and around, as you already remarked, around me was theater, different theater forms.
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Wole Soyinka

Nobel Prize for Literature

Wole Soyinka: Most exciting moment? I assure you it was not the Nobel thing. Maybe people think a prize like that should count, but no, not at all. I would say, if I directed a play on stage, and I see the excited face of my company, when they really feel they've pulled off something, and I've also got the same vibrations from the audience. I think that's when I really feel very fulfilled.
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Esperanza Spalding

Singer, Songwriter and Jazz Bassist

Esperanza Spalding: The first musical experience that I really remember being struck by I actually hated, because it was bagpipes at the elementary school for some celebration. Now I appreciate bagpipes, but then, to my little vulnerable new virgin ears, the sound was like ahh! Just to be honest. That was my first musical experience that I remember being very impacted by. On the other hand, I remember hearing Yo-Yo Ma on television, on public television, and on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, and I don't think I had ever heard any sound like that before, not with the imagery, not with the visuals of this young-looking guy doing this thing that seemed just -- I just didn't have any reference for it. It just was like the most amazing thing I'd ever seen. And right then and there I decided I wanted to do -- whatever that is -- I want to do that. And what I don't consciously remember, but now I know, is that in the same episode of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood -- it was apparently an episode all about music, music, music, music. So when they went to the next segment there was a woman playing acoustic bass, and the other female character was dressed as an acoustic bass. But I don't remember seeing that as a kid, but I must have. So I thought, until I saw a rerun of that episode, that it was purely by chance I was so drawn to the bass, but maybe it was some sort of like subliminal seed that was planted. And those are the two seminal turning points in my life, seminal moments, being exposed to those two instruments.
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Thomas Starzl

Father of Modern Transplantation

There was a doctor named Wendell Downing whose son became a doctor and practiced -- probably still does -- in Des Moines, Iowa. But the older Dr. Downing, recognizing that I was interested in medicine and in surgery, invited me to come and watch operations, which I did, and observed operations that today are rarely done, like radical mastectomy for cancer of the breast and other operations. He taught me some details of anatomy that always stuck. It was always easy to remember the long thoracic nerve of Bell, because that was a nerve which one tried hard to preserve doing a radical mastectomy. So I spent quite a bit of time in the operating room, just watching surgery. I remember at first they were quite concerned that I might keel over and faint at the first sight of blood, but it didn't bother me.
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Thomas Starzl

Father of Modern Transplantation

Thomas Starzl: By elucidating the mechanisms of engraftment, the tools have been handed on now that are going to make it possible to get people off (immunosuppressant) drugs more frequently or to use low doses of drugs more frequently. By understanding mechanism also, it may be possible to move into xenotransplant objectives, the use of animal organs. Or there is an interface, a powerful one, between transplantation and stem cell biology that might be exploitable. So I don't think that the lid is on transplantation. But with something new, the skyrocket goes here, and then it gets into a plateau which may be sustained on an upward trajectory, but it will never be straight up like it was at that time. With all its vicissitudes, I like the straight shot. It's a little bit like flying to the moon. That was a tremendous achievement in 1969, but it's slowly lost power, lost power, and in fact, even our participation -- at least moon exploration -- is coming to an end. We're turning it all over to the Russians. But there are planets out there beyond that, so there's room for more. But probably nothing will ever have the thrill of having some guy walking around on the moon.
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