Check out this disastrous report card. Yet John Gurdon went on to do well in college, and later became a Nobel Prize winner in Biology!
That’s because he had grit, moxie, steadfastness, backbone. When you access that then you can achieve great things! Nick Collins writes:
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. While it might be less than complimentary, noting that for him to study science at University would be a “sheer waste of time”, Sir John said it is the only item he has ever framed.
… After receiving the report Sir John said he switched his attention to classics and was offered a place to study at Christ Church, Oxford, but was allowed to switch courses and read zoology instead because of a mix-up in the admissions office.
It was at Oxford as a postgraduate student that he published his groundbreaking research on genetics and proved for the first time that every cell in the body contains the same genes. He did so by taking a cell from an adult frog’s intestine, removing its genes and implanting them into an egg cell, which grew into a clone of the adult frog.
The idea was controversial at the time because it contradicted previous studies by much more senior scientists, and it was a decade before the then-graduate student’s work became widely accepted. But it later led directly to the cloning of Dolly the Sheep by Prof Ian Wilmut in 1996, and to the subsequent discovery by Prof Yamanaka that adult cells can be “reprogrammed” into stem cells for use in medicine. This means that cells from someone’s skin can be made into stem cells which in turn can turn into any type of tissue in the body, meaning they can replace diseased or damaged tissue in patients.
– The Telegraph (UK), Nick Collins, Oct 8, 2012
Great things happened because John had indefatigability – sustained enthusiastic action with unflagging vitality.
Jonathan Player. Rex Features/AP, 2003