Exploring science, Marshall Nirenberg

Interviewee: Marshall Nirenberg. Early in his scientific career, Marshall Nirenberg had to decide what project to pursue. Marshall Nirenberg talks about his decision to become a "code-breaker." (DNAi Location: Code > Reading the code > Players > Marshall Nirenberg > Making the decision)

I wanted to work in a field that's a really important field, that I felt was really a superb field. I assessed my chances of success in the field as, as being very low, minimal, I thought it was extremely risky. One time I asked, I, in the evening I saw a young scientist who I thought was probably the best scientist at the NIH working in his lab, and I stopped in on the spur of the moment just to ask his assessment of, I told him what I planned to do, and asked for his reaction. And he just looked at me, he said Marshall, he said, it's suicidal, which confirmed my worst fears. But the, I don't know, the wish to, to explore, the wish to discover was stronger than the fear of failure, and so I thought if I'm not, if ever I'm going to do it, I'd better do it now.

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