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Susan Lindquist interview: What or who first inspired you to become a scientist?

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There are actually a couple of answers to that. One actually was a book. I read a book that was written specifically for young women about Elizabeth Blackwell, who was the first woman to become a doctor in the United States. And that was just thrilling to me. I had grown up in quite a traditional household, and the thought that a woman could have a career was just the farthest thing from my mind. I was so thrilled by reading that book, so that was certainly one influence. I must have been about nine, I would guess. The other influence was, I think, my fifth grade teacher, Ms. Davies, who was a very good and dedicated teacher. One day she walked into the classroom, and she said: Ok, kids, put your books away! We are going to spend the whole class just talking about one question. On the board she put up: “What is Life?” By the end of that class, I was just thrilled. We first put up: “It moves” – but a car moves; that doesn’t make a car alive. “It uses energy” – but a car uses energy, that doesn’t make a car alive. And then she talked about sponges and things in the ocean that don’t move… We spent that whole hour, as kids, trying to come up with a definition for what Life was. And I would have to say that still, to this day, that’s the question that just thrills me, that gets me so excited, and I feel so fortunate to be living and working at a time when we’re actually beginning to figure this out, where we’re actually understanding how molecules can come together to create a living thing. It’s just really amazing and wonderful.

Video Details

Duration: 1 minute and 55 seconds
Country: Sweden
Language: English
Producer: MoleCluesTV
Director: Per Thorén
Views: 68
Posted by: locumele on May 11, 2014

Professor Susan Lindquist interviewed for MoleClues. Entire interview available on

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