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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


J. Carter Brown

Director Emeritus
National Gallery of Art

J. Carter Brown: I didn't know what channel I would follow to carry out this idea of cultural administration. But, it was very simple. I didn't have enough talent to do any one thing superbly well. I couldn't draw. I wasn't that musical, although I've sung all my life in choruses. I wasn't that good an actor. I didn't do math, and didn't do the visual expression that it would take to be an architect, although I loved architecture. And, I wasn't going to be a poet. And, I wanted to achieve, so I figured the solution is to combine something so you can get a niche that other people haven't got. So, I would go into the arts from an academic point of view, and I'd combine that with a business school degree. And then, I could market myself as a kind of cultural administrator, a kind of midwife for culture, and someone to arc the connection between an audience and the work of art, or of the arts. And so, that was a career objective that I carved out for myself as a kid.
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J. Carter Brown

Director Emeritus
National Gallery of Art

I was driving from the station in Washington, home to Georgetown. My father was working in the government, and I think I must have been 12 years old. I remember it was raining. We passed the National Gallery, and it was -- that wonderful pink marble in the rain it gets very rich rose, and I remember looking up and saying to my parents, "That's the kind of job I would like to have some day." Now, little did I know that I would actually be Director of that museum. But I felt that institutions had the stability to bring the arts to people, and perhaps art museums were the most stable because theater companies come and go, and there's a lot of risk in the various performing arts and it's sort of ephemeral. But, there's something wonderfully permanent about those collections in art museums, and then you can use that as a base to bring in other art forms.
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Willie Brown

Former Mayor of San Francisco

I was going to go to college so that I didn't have to work at the pea house all of my life. That's a pea processing plant, and it was the only job that I'd ever witnessed any adults in Mineola really having, unless you worked on the railroad, which is what my father did. You didn't have any other jobs. You couldn't even be anybody's chauffeur. The town was so poor that the white people didn't even have chauffeurs, as such. So, there was nothing there that would inspire you to want to pursue it. The undertaker seemed to be okay, but the undertaker also had another job, I think he was a lawn mower, or something. So there was not enough people dying to even want you to be an undertaker. But teachers got paid. They got paid a lot less than the white teachers, but they got paid. And they worked nine months out of the year.
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Willie Brown

Former Mayor of San Francisco

I don't think that we can only have the have-nots move to protect the environment from total exploitation by mankind. I think we have to have the lowest non-wage earner in India, or in Rwanda just as interested in recycling in their own sphere as someone in Manhattan, or in Miami Beach, or in Newport Beach, or in Marin County. Got to be just as interested. Currently, only the residents of those areas evidence that interest. The world is slowly but surely slipping into the brink of disaster, environmentally speaking. And it's because we have not dealt with the basic issue of human survival. And until we do that we're in trouble.
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Linda Buck

Nobel Prize in Medicine

We don't really know how the brain works, by and large. I mean it's still a black box. I think the 1990s were the decade of the brain, but it still is not understood what a perception is, exactly. What happens in the brain when you perceive something? You see a friend walking down the street toward you, and maybe they say something to you. There's activity and neurons in many parts of the brain. How do those come together to form a percept -- a perception? It's not known. We don't even know what the neural circuits are that underlie appetite. We don't know what happens when we feel an emotion like love, or we look at a beautiful piece of art. The brain is still a mystery to us, and it's the most challenging area, to me, of biological science today. And I'd like to encourage the wonderful students that are here at this Academy of Achievement to consider a career in neuroscience, to try to figure out how the brain actually works. It's a fascinating, challenging, very satisfying and rewarding thing to do, I think.
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Linda Buck

Nobel Prize in Medicine

Linda Buck: I think that there are a multitude of questions to address, in terms of biological science. As I just said, the brain is still almost a complete mystery. We don't know about the neural circuits that control even innate drives such as hunger, sleep. We don't know how those things work. We know that they're controlled by circuits of neurons. That is, they're interconnected neural networks, but we don't know what they are. We don't know what the genes are. There are now very large-scale efforts to map genes that are expressed in the brain. And once you can map the genes, that is, determine the neurons that they're expressed in, you can couple that with genetic alterations in animals to study what happens when you turn a gene on or turn it off, and in that way you can learn more about the roles of individual neurons in the neural circuit. Now, in the case of smell, we're very interested in how it is that smells can elicit specific kinds of behaviors. Predator odors can elicit an instinctive fear response. We think that we can use odors or pheromones that also elicit specific innate responses to gain access to those neural circuits that have not been identified yet. And once we can get our hands on one identifiable set of neurons in the brain that's involved in that circuit, then we can move outward from that, and start identifying the other neurons, and then establish what individual neurons in the circuit do. So we've just begun to do that recently, actually.
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