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Louis Ignarro

Nobel Prize in Medicine

I think that what we've learned so far about genes, genetics in pharmacology, that's going to be the wave of the future. What I envision seeing, and I'm sure you've heard this -- but I read a lot, I talk to a lot of people. What I envision seeing, I think in 25 years, I really do, that as soon as a newborn comes to be, or even maternally, a newborn will be tested with a small sample, maybe cheek cells or something very non-invasive. The entire genome will be analyzed. Every defect that there is in the gene will be noticed, and then it will be very clear as to what needs to be done to prevent that gene from developing. That is, to correct the genetic defect so that person may not develop Alzheimer's disease. That person may not develop high blood pressure or whatever. I really see that coming. And that is going to be great for treating disease, preventing disease, but it will create other problems, because you're going to have a lot of 150-year-olds around. What are we going to do with all these people who are over 100 years old once we develop to that stage? But you can't let that limit your development. I think what you need to do first is try to prevent disease, treat disease so that humans can live a healthy lifestyle. I mean the purpose is not to keep a human alive as long as possible. No, no, no. Why should someone die at the age of 55 for heart disease? Why should someone at 60 develop Alzheimer's disease? If all those diseases can be avoided, I think everyone would live to 100 or 110 but live a very useful life until then. I see nothing wrong with that.
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Louis Ignarro

Nobel Prize in Medicine

Louis Ignarro: I ask them about their research and what they're doing. And of course I talk to their professors first, because I don't want to embarrass anybody. And then I say, "Okay, you're doing this. Let me explain to you what I did." So I would explain to them what I did, and they would always have questions. How did you know about nitroglycerine and nitric oxide? How did you know to look to see if arteries make nitric oxide? How did you know to look in the nerves to see if they release nitric oxide as a neurotransmitter? How did you know? I said, "I didn't. I just developed this idea, and this was thinking outside the box. And I went and I tested that hypothesis." So what I try to do, and it's very difficult, is look at their research, and then suggest to them what they might do in thinking outside the box and go maybe in this direction in addition to this direction. I've been doing that for about almost ten years at three different universities. And in several cases it's worked out very well. The graduates have done better, and they're very appreciative, they're very happy and so on. But it's hard. It's hard to teach somebody to think outside the box. It's something that almost comes naturally. It's very hard to instill in someone.
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Jeremy Irons

Award-winning Stage and Screen Actor

I don't think it's a bad thing, but I've always had a very strong sense of self. And whenever I'm in a situation where I'm wearing the same as 600 other people and doing the same thing as 600 other people, looking back, I always found ways to make myself different, whether it be having a red lining inside of my jacket, having red shoes, it hasn't changed. Having the only bicycle which could fold in half and be dropped from a parachute, having the only Macintosh, which was -- it was a raincoat in this country -- which was shiny and black and three-quarter length. Just various things, looking through my school days. Having the only farm nearby where I could go and smoke and drink beer on a weekend without anybody knowing.
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Jeremy Irons

Award-winning Stage and Screen Actor

A career seemed to me something rather like a prison sentence. That was how I viewed a career, that I would start at the bottom and I'd work my way up the ladder and then I'd retire, and after a little bit I'd die. And I thought there's nothing I want to do like that really. Nothing I want to do enough but I'd like to -- I had read a lot of autobiographies of actors, from Burbage (Shakespeare's leading man), through to Charlie Chaplin, Noel Coward, and all the people in between. That was while I was at school, under the notion that I was collecting them but with no knowledge as to why. But in fact, a lot was -- you know, you don't collect things without reason, and a lot of their lives soaked into me and their attitudes. And to be an outsider seemed to me to be very, very attractive.
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John Irving

National Book Award

No adult in my family would ever tell me anything about who my father was. I knew from an older cousin -- only four years older than I am -- everything, or what little I could discover about him. I mistakenly thought that he and my mother were married and divorced before I was born. As it turned out, I was born in 1942, and my parents didn't divorce until 1944, when I was two. But I was born with that father's name, John Wallace Blunt, Jr., and it probably was a gift to my imagination that my mother wouldn't talk about him, because when information of that kind is denied to you as a child, you begin to invent who your father might have been, and this becomes a secret, a private obsession, which I would say is an apt description of writing novels and screenplays, of making things up in lieu of knowing the real answer.
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John Irving

National Book Award

I think working my way through that process, begin with the end and then work your way back to where you began. Sometimes that's a year, sometimes it's 18 months, where all I'm doing is taking notes. I'm reconstructing the story from the back to the front so that I know where the front is. Now people always ask me, "Well surely something changes. Surely somewhere along the way you get a better idea." In the sequence of events in the middle of the story, that's often true. Sometimes a character I had never thought of -- a minor character or a major/minor one-- will make an appearance in the middle of the story and move the story in a slightly different way. But the ending never changes. It never has. Eleven novels, it never has changed. I might fool around with that first sentence over time, but I won't fool around with the last. It's as clear as a note of music. It is where I'm going.
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