On the way to the parking deck

I’ve been too busy to check in on Medicine Grand Rounds each Friday at noon, but I made sure not to miss last week’s presentation by Robert Lefkowitz, MD, professor of medicine and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2012. His talk, A Tale of Two Callings, was just as funny and insightful as I expected. He even extolled the virtues of chocolate, and he broke into song — West Side Story — at the end. Watch here.

During my 10 years in the Duke Department of Medicine, at least once a week, on my way to or from the Research Drive parking deck, I would pass Dr. Lefkowitz. Sometimes he we’d exchange a greeting, but most often he seemed deep in thought. When he explained his keys to success in science, focus was at the top of the list.

In 2011 I had accompanied a photographer to the Lefkowitz Lab to get images for the department’s annual report. I used photos from that shoot to celebrate his Nobel Prize, and in my blog post Nobel connections, I recalled part of the conversation in his office from the year before:

“I tell jokes, and the [research] fellows laugh. And when they laugh, they’re making connections. And that’s what science is, making connections.”

I’ve started his memoir, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Stockholm: The Adrenaline-Fueled Adventures of an Accidental Scientist. I’m reading it slowly, trying to focus, and of course I’m eating chocolate while I read.



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