Sir John Gurdon, Nobel Prize winner, was ‘too stupid’ for science at school
At the age of 15, Prof Sir John Gurdon ranked last out of the 250 boys in his Eton year group at biology, and was in the bottom set in every other science subject.
Sixty-four years later he has been recognised as one of the finest minds of his generation after being awarded the £750,000 annual prize, which he shares with Japanese stem cell researcher Shinya Yamanaka.
Speaking after learning of his award in London on Monday, Sir John revealed that his school report still sits above his desk at the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge, which is named in his honour.
my mom always said grades are important, but they’re not the most important thing.
I love how he framed that. He probably looked at it every day and said, “Oh yeah?”
Here’s a bigger image of the letter.
Grades are poor measures of one’s potential to be curious.
it’s a shame grades are such a huge part of getting into grad school/jobs
9:17 pm • 11 October 2012 • 1,750 notes
Cave of Crystal Giants
The Naica mine in remote northern Mexico is famous for its abundance of crystals. It’s also one of Mexico’s most productive lead and silver mines, and not by coincidence, because the geological processes involved in creating lead and silver also provide the raw materials of crystals. Miners frequently hammer into impressive chambers of crystals, but in 2000, a pair of brothers drilled into what seemed like a child’s dreamscape: an enormous limestone cavern 300 metres underground, glittering with a forest of thick, luminous crystals up to 10 metres long and 600,000 years old. But how did they get so huge? Most caves and mines boast cool temperatures, but the Naica mines lie above an intrusion of magma 1.6 kilometres underground. In the Cave of Crystals, the temperature soars to 45 degrees Celsius. So, when calcium sulfate-infused groundwater flowed through the caves hundreds of thousands of years ago, it was heated until it reached a stable temperature where the minerals in the water formed selenite. This growth of selenite became the tiny bricks that built the vast crystal architecture. Temperature fluctuations in other caverns meant that the crystals stopped growing and so were smaller, but in the Cave of Crystals, where conditions remained unchanged for millennia, the crystals just kept growing.
I want to go here so bad
10:15 pm • 10 October 2012 • 1,556 notes
this time next week I’ll have woken up here!
11:53 am • 8 October 2012
The dehydration of sugar in sulfuric acid, science motherfuckers.
8:47 pm • 3 October 2012 • 114,013 notes