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Francis Collins

Presidential Medal of Freedom

It was the 10th grade in high school, it was the first day of the chemistry course. Mr. House, this wonderful man who'd dedicated his life to getting high school students excited about science, came in and said, "We're going to do an experiment today. I'm going to give you this box, which is painted black, and it has an object inside it and I want you figure out all the ways that you might investigate this to figure out what the object is." And my initial reaction was, "What a dumb idea!" And then I started to try to come up with a list of the kinds of experiments one could do to determine what's inside this black box. And I got caught up in it. It was the first time I think that somebody had challenged me to come up with the ideas. I had some exposure to science in previous courses, but it was, "Here's the facts, learn them." This was, "Okay, I'm challenging you. Here's a problem, how would you solve it?" And I knew something was different here.
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Francis Collins

Presidential Medal of Freedom

In the lab, you could go for three or four weeks, sometimes longer, without having the sense that you did anything worthwhile. But when you have that occasional flash -- it doesn't come very often -- that occasional flash where you see something, you know something that nobody else ever knew before, that makes it all worthwhile. That's that sort of moment of inspiration, that recognition of some new phenomenon that only God is aware of until that moment. That keeps you going. That gets you through all those months of failed experiments and flawed hypotheses, and keeps you wanting to go on to the next step.
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Denton Cooley

Pioneer of Heart Transplants

Denton Cooley: It's really a fascinating organ. It's about the only organ in the body that you can really witness its function. It's active and doing things, and so on. Some of the other organs you can witness, like the intestines, will have this sort of peristaltic motion. But nothing can compare with the activity of the human heart. And besides that, it's always had a special connotation in our society, or in our life. It's been the seat of the soul, and the seat of emotions. The seat of many things. And so, it has always been considered to be an organ that was not amenable, did not lend itself to manipulation. But now we find that it really is a tough little organ. It can tolerate a great deal, and it certainly has been revealed that it can be corrected in many ways, and even replaced by organ transplantation.
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Denton Cooley

Pioneer of Heart Transplants

When I was a sophomore at the University of Texas. I was invited to visit a friend down in San Antonio, who was an intern at the time, working at a municipal hospital there. And he asked me to come over and join him on a Saturday night when he was working in the emergency room. And he had all of these patients there who were all beat up, cut up, or so on, in fights and so on. And he offered me the opportunity to sew up some wounds, which I had never done. And sure enough, I did that, and I enjoyed it, enjoyed the evening. It inspired me, and right then I decided that I would go on into medicine rather than into dentistry. So here I am.
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Francis Ford Coppola

Filmmaker, Producer and Screenwriter

This, of course, was one of the elements of the Eisenstein film that was so exciting. How the editing was able to take -- that's always fascinating -- take this, and this, and put it together, and have something come out that was neither of those two things. Of course, the sense of rhythm that editing can do! I was struck, I remember, on Ten Days That Shook The World, how although it was a silent film, there were sequences where you actually almost could hear the machine guns firing, because of the way it was edited. So it's a form of alchemy, of magic, that is very appealing. I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated. Because the very earliest people who made film were magicians. One of the aspects of it was the idea of an illusion, a magical illusion, in the early days of movies.
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Francis Ford Coppola

Filmmaker, Producer and Screenwriter

The grips will tell you that you don't know what you're doing, or the camera operator, or the camera man. Everybody. I mean, when you go on a set -- that's one of the reasons George Lucas never directed again. No one knows this, but when he made Star Wars over there in England -- George is sort of a little, skinny version of me, you know, and he's doesn't have the most physical kind of stamina. And he was so ridiculed -- you know that kind of jock-like attitude that crews can have -- putting him down for what he was doing and stuff. He was so unhappy making Star Wars that he just vowed he'd never do it again. Plus, he was like diabetic, so he was a little sick. That's why someone today said, you ought to love what you're doing because -- especially in a movie -- you really have to love the project and love the story, because over time you really will start to hate it. And the fact that you say, "Gee, but I really like what this is about," is a very valuable asset.
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