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Key to success: Vision Key to success: Passion Key to success: Perseverance Key to success: Preparation Key to success: Courage Key to success: Integrity Key to success: The American Dream Keys to success homepage More quotes on Passion More quotes on Vision More quotes on Courage More quotes on Integrity More quotes on Preparation More quotes on Perseverance More quotes on The American Dream


Sir Edmund Hillary

Conqueror of Mt. Everest

Sir Edmund Hillary: I have very modest abilities. Academically I was very modest. Mediocre perhaps, and I think perhaps physically I did not have a great athletic sense, but I was big and strong. But, I think maybe the only thing in which I was less than modest was in motivation. I really wanted very strongly to do many of these things and once I started I didn't give up all that easily.
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David Ho

AIDS Research Pioneer

David Ho: I encountered an array of receptions from the kids. As you might expect, some kids are cruel and if you can't say anything, they make fun of you. They call you stupid or other names. But, there are also a lot of kids who are quite reasonable, who try to help. I certainly remember a lot of them. Sure, when other kids are being cruel, it's very, very tough and then you have nothing to come back with simply because you can't express yourself.
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David Ho

AIDS Research Pioneer

We went into the experiment expecting to see some positive effect of the approach, and it didn't come up and we thought, "Well, maybe it's only this case. Let's wait until one and many more," and repeatedly it failed and failed. We were more interested in finding out why because there has to be an answer there. And, that process was pretty exciting, to be the one showing that it doesn't work although we wanted the positive result rather than the negative result, but that's science. You get a negative result and now you have to figure out why because it works beautifully in the test tube. Why isn't it working in the patient? And that answer and that discovery process really taught us a lot about HIV. And, this is the joy of science because you go into it because you're curious and you figure things out and you say, "Wow."
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David Ho

AIDS Research Pioneer

David Ho: I felt disheartened and beaten for a long time. Even though the science was coming out positively, we weren't making much progress for the patients. So, as scientists we could sit and celebrate each successful experiment, but we made very little difference to the lives of patients with HIV infection and that was very disheartening. And, seeing lots of patients go over that decade and almost a decade and a half is quite devastating, but I never said, "This is too disheartening. I'm going to quit." We were learning so much about the virus, one optimistically could expect some progress to come along. And, in fact, it did come along in 1994 when the protease inhibitors first went into human testing.
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Susan Hockfield

President Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Susan Hockfield: When I got to graduate school, it was suggested many times that I should perhaps not just get a Ph.D. but get a Ph.D. and an M.D. And it was funny, I started graduate school in January. I have done more things than probably would be good for me counter-cyclically. So rather than starting in September with everyone else, I started with January, just because that's the way it worked out. Actually, because I was anxious to start now. Once I've decided what I want to do, I want to do it now. I'm not a particularly patient person. And I had the remarkable good fortune to get a summer internship in a lab at the National Institutes of Health, a neurobiology lab. And so during the academic year from September through June I would take classes, and then from June through September I would be in the lab full-time, and I would try to get to the lab as much as I could during the course period of the year. And every time I thought about doing the M.D., all I could think about was that there would be long stretches of time when I couldn't be in the lab, and I just couldn't do it. I just could not imagine not being in the lab.
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Susan Hockfield

President Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Technology determines in a very important way what you can see, what you can do. You can't do experiments beyond what your technology allows, and often the breakthroughs come because you or someone else has figured out how to make that technology go a little deeper, go a little further, provide a little higher resolution. But early molecular biology required a huge vat of one kind of cells, multiplied over a zillion times, in order to find a single gene. So just the requirements of doing molecular biology experiments basically require that you had a single cell, and a hundred thousand copies of that single cell, in order to get your hands on a gene that was important in that cell. But by the late '70s, the techniques had gotten better, so that you could study a gene that was not expressed in a hundred thousand of the exact same cells, but you could actually find it in a complicated tissue like the brain. The brain has thousands and thousands of different kinds of cells. Some cells express these acetylcholine receptors, some don't. And the resolution of the molecular biology techniques finally began to allow you to look at a complicated tissue. And so I, as I started my own lab at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, had access to technologies that we really never had before, and that allowed us to look at what was happening at the level of individual cells in the brain. So I did all brain all the time, but I would no longer be characterized as a neuro-anatomist. I became a molecular neurobiologist and devoted the rest of my research real exclusively to questions of brain development mostly.
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