Monday, December 14, 2009

Basking in brilliance

On Sunday I saw a show on BBC that featured the Nobel laureates (except for peace) for 009. Most of them were men and women of science (chemistry, physics, medicine or physiology and economics). One of them was a novelist, a Romanian-born woman who fled the communist world in the 1980s.

Aside from making me want to get my hands on Herta Muller's works, the show reminded me that all great works stem from passion and hard work.

Two of the physicists were recognized for work that they did forty years ago.

Another was honored for his pioneering work in fiber optic technology, also many decades ago. Now this man is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, but his wife – who says, tearfully, that she misses her husband's intellectual discourses – is sure he appreciates how big a deal it is to win the Nobel.

Another scientist stumbled on a breakthrough in ribosome technology one Christmas morning. Which is very telling – why work on Christmas, unless your work is one you are truly and deeply passionate about?

One of the economics laureates studied the best possible way to manage natural resources like water and forests. She was driven by the poverty from which deprived her of access to the most basic things as a child.

And Muller felt her writing was a midst of survival amid repression in Eastern Europe. She did flee to the West in the mid-1980s but memories of her early years continued to haunt her.

“For a long time after arriving in West Berlin, my eyes hurt. I've never seen so much color,” she said. The grayness of her previous life, as well as from the knowledge that her father was an SS officer “who never talked about the war, like it was taboo,” filled her with the longing to express herself.

Alas, not even the Nobel Prize can erase bad memories.

What it does,however,when you get past the fact that it came from the last will and testament of the man who invented the dynamite, is to inspire you. To do what you were meant to do,work hard, and be the best version of yourself.

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