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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


James Watson

Discoverer of the DNA Molecule

There was one person at Cal Tech who wrote a review which said my book should virtually be banned from children, because it will keep them from going into science. Maybe this person went into science for different reasons but, certainly, that hasn't been the effect. Most people who read the book say it was fun, and people say it inspired them to go into the field. So I don't think that touch of reality really -- but some people thought "this is evil," and I didn't.
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Kent Weeks

Living Legend of Egyptology

We heard in 1987 that the antiquities department was making plans, because of increased tourism, to widen the parking lot right at the entrance to the valley, in order to accommodate more tour buses. We had seen on a map drawn of the Valley of the Kings in 1800 by Napoleon Bonaparte's soldiers when they visited Egypt, they had drawn a map of the valley, and right at the entrance they had put a little black dot and a legend -- "tomb entrance?" -- question mark. Now, the map was very inaccurate, it was a sketch plan, nothing more than that, it wasn't to scale. But judging by the map, and looking at the topography, we thought that that little black dot lay exactly where the bus park was going to be widened. We reasoned that if they were going to widen the road, they were going to have to cut back the mountain and they might very well damage or destroy a tomb, if in fact there was a tomb there. So we got permission from the antiquities department to do some clearing before they began their excavations and paving. There was no problem with that. In a matter of about ten days we had found the tomb entrance, in 1987. Opened the door, went inside, found the tomb completely filled with debris, and spent six years excavating the first two small rooms, only about 12 by 15 feet square, each of them, six years removing that debris. Extremely slow work, because the debris had the consistency of cement. Because we discovered that the walls of the tomb were decorated, and we didn't want to do any damage to that. And because we found that there were thousands and thousands of fragmentary objects on the floor of the chambers. All of that debris had to be removed with a pick, then sieved, carefully analyzed, all of the pottery, thousands and thousands of pieces had to be analyzed.
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Kent Weeks

Living Legend of Egyptology

I went to the University of Washington as an undergraduate. They didn't offer any Egyptology at all. So I did archeology, but they didn't offer much of that. And I thought, "Well, I'm interested in the history of medicine. Why not take anatomy and pathology and all the med school courses?" And I went down and conned my way into all of those. Did a whole series of things on medicine as an undergraduate, which paid big dividends, because when I finally was accepted to graduate school at Yale, my parents couldn't afford to send me there. I needed to get a fellowship. Fellowships were hard to come by, and I thought, "Wait. I think I know what I can do." So I made an application to the National Institutes of Mental Health and said, "I want to study ancient Egyptian medicine at Yale," and I got a four-year scholarship to do it. Did my doctoral thesis, finally, on the representation of the human figure in ancient Egyptian art and the anatomical terminology in ancient Egyptian medical texts. I think I'm the only person in the world ever to get a degree in Egyptology on an NIMH fellowship. But gosh, without that I mean it's almost like kismet, in some ways. All of these things just falling together and allowing me to continue what could be a rather narrow, difficult path. I've been very lucky.
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Kent Weeks

Living Legend of Egyptology

Kent Weeks: Well, when I said it at the age of eight or nine, my mother said, "That's nice, dear." My father turned the page of the paper and said, "Umm." When they realized I was getting serious about this they were very encouraging. But I must admit at the same time they were rather concerned. "How's this kid going to make a living? Are we going to have him around here at the age of 45?" I had an aunt who was very pragmatic. She said, "How dare you consider squandering your parents' money by doing something so stupid at university? Why don't you go into engineering, or maybe business? There's all kinds of things you can do in marketing." After I got my doctorate, I got my first job at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. I was there for two years. And then I was hired by the University of Chicago. Even after that, while I was married, we had two kids, I was teaching at the University of Chicago, I would go back to Seattle, my aunt would say, 'Well, have you come home? Are you finally going to settle down and get a real job? Are you through with all this silliness?" Not very helpful. But the teachers, yes. My parents, yes.
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Kent Weeks

Living Legend of Egyptology

Kent Weeks: I think, quite frankly, the one explanation I have is simply perseverance. I just never took no for an answer. It's like writing research grants, which anyone in any field in the academic field has to do on a regular basis. You've got to get used to getting rejection slips. If you write a proposal that you think is brilliant, and they send it back and say, "Sorry. We're not going to give you a penny " write another proposal. Try another funding agency, but keep going at it. And this is what I did. If trying to achieve my objective I couldn't go this way, I'd try an end run. I'd try another tack, another path, like a National Institutes of Mental Health fellowship. It was just perseverance. I was just too stubborn. I wouldn't take no for an answer. I don't think it's anything more than that.
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Andrew Weil

Integrative Medicine

There was no legal mechanism for getting marijuana for research. There were many different federal and state agencies that were involved. A lawyer who was very interested in marijuana legal issues bet me that I would never be able to obtain permission to get marijuana to do human research. The attitude of the school was, they were very upset, the Human Subjects Committee. Because one of our experimental designs was that we wanted to give marijuana to people who never had it before, because we felt that expectation played an enormous role in determining the effects of marijuana. And people who had previously used it had expectations of what it would do. The Human Subjects Committee of the school took the position it would be unethical to expose people to marijuana who had never been exposed to it. We ended up doing the research at Boston University School of Medicine, because Harvard wouldn't let it be done on their premises. And there was a lot of contention here, I mean, there were a lot of negotiations with many agencies and bureaucracies.
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Andrew Weil

Integrative Medicine

I have a very strong sense of my own -- of what's right -- and I'm able to operate fairly independent of all that kind of storm that goes on. And maybe I would relate that to my upbringing, and as I said, being an only child and having learned to be independent, and think for myself, and operate on my own. I would say, more than difficult, it was lonely for a long time. Because there were not other doctors out there who were advocating the kinds of things that I was doing. And I was often attacked from both sides. From the alternative side for being too mainstream, and from the mainstream side for being too alternative.
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