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My ambitions were already very clearly fixed by the time I was 6 or 7.
– Joshua Lederberg
Everybody has to learn for the first time.
I’m not easily inhibited by the fact that I don’t know something about a subject. It doesn’t stop me from dabbling in it.
If we have isolated individuals able to inflict enormous harm, imagine what a single lunatic can do with a nuclear weapon. I think the whole base of civil society is at risk.
I was reading five or six years ahead of my grade during public school. I was pretty bored. I made a contract with some of my teachers that if I didn’t ask too many questions, I could work in the back of the room.
I don’t believe anybody can really grasp everything that’s even in one textbook.
I think we have to believe we are here for some purpose, and I know there are many cynics who will deny it, but they don’t live as if they deny it.
To have the recognition of your colleagues is great. The public attention is a mixed blessing.
If you wanted to dissect the structure of living cells, genetic analysis was an extremely powerful method, so my interest turned to that.
I did get a very fine education, and not just in science. It took some pressure on the part of my elders to convince me that I really should take an interest in humanities.
When I was in high school, I became interested in cytochemistry: chemical analysis under the microscope, and trying to understand the composition of cells.
I was making a lot of momentous personal decisions. I was still very very young: when the prize was awarded, I was 33; the work I had done when I was 21.
By the time I was 12 or 13, I was studying biochemistry textbooks.
I got my Nobel Prize for my lab work.
I believe I am a person with unusual talents. I think I’d be a liar or stupid if I were to deny that.
I hope I’ve lived a life of science whose style will encourage younger people.
I certainly saw science as a kind of calling, and one with as much legitimacy as a religious calling.
Being successful at a very young age gave me the confidence and the capability to try out other things.
I’d like to put in a vote for the intrinsic fascination of science.
I wish I had a talent for dropping things as well as taking on new ones. It gets to be quite a clutter after a while.
I get curious about new things. My real strength is going into a field that has not been investigated before, and finding new approaches to it.
Although I am a public figure, I’m still a little shy. I don’t think my own personality is important. I prefer to keep some small dosage of privacy.
If it takes you 20 or 25 years to establish yourself in one field, you really ought to be careful not to stray too far.
As soon as you go into any biological process in any real detail, you discover it’s open-ended in terms of what needs to be found out about it.
All of civility depends on being able to contain the rage of individuals.
Life’s a hobby.