Mario Capecchi, a true inspiration! Also in this issue (hit any slide to enlarge it, then back-arrow to return to blog):
• What is the Gray Nomad’s Blog For?
• Eight Below: A Dog-Lover’s Movie
• Alzheimer’s Research
• New Quest to Contact Aliens
The inspiration title is from the story of a Nobel prizewinner…..one of the most remarkable stories I have ever heard**.
• Mario Capecchi’s mother Lucy was an expat American poet living in the Italian Alps when Mario was born in 1937.
• After the German Gestapo imprisoned Lucy in Dachau, Mario was left on the streets. He was only 4 years old.
• His band of urchins worked together like raptors, one child distracting a street vendor while others stole the fruit.
• Mario finally landed in a hospital, where the daily ration was a piece of bread and a cup of coffee.
• To prevent escape, they took his clothes. He shivered on a bed with no sheets or blankets.
• After the liberation of 1945, his mother spent a year finding Mario, and took him to Rome where he had his first bath in six years.
• Then on to Pennsylvania, where some teachers wrote off the feral boy who had never been to school and could speak no English. But he knew how to fight and beat up his peers.
• Mario Capecchi eventually found his way to Harvard, a center for molecular biology, to join the lab of James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA.
• From there he went to Salt Lake City and the University of Utah, where his house set high overlooking a canyon.
• When he first proposed manipulating mouse genes to study disease, the founders laughed at him.
• But he continued on this course. And received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2007 for creating a knockout mouse. This is a mouse, created by genetic engineering and in-vitro fertilization, in which a particular gene has been turned off.
** A Nobel Warrior by Nancy Gibbs, Time, 22 October 2007.
Never, never, never give up. (Winston Churchill’s speech at a student graduation after WW II).
Keep on asking and it will be given you; and keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew chapter 7).
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