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QuotesLivingIntheScience

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Living In The Science

“I say ‘data talk to me, tell me what you have to say…. You have to know your data, you have to smell it, you have to be in it. If you're not living inside the data you are going to miss the most interesting things, because the most interesting things are not going to be the questions you originally proposed; the interesting things are going to be questions you hadn't thought about.” 
- Al Sommer, Discovered that Vitamin A deficiency is a huge childhood killer

“You receive patients who are about to die, in fact, not infrequently are technically just dead, with no detectable pulse or blood pressure, but with heart and brain still on the edge of irreversible fatality, and within minutes, using standard intravenous fluids matching the ionic composition of their losses, often with added glucose to ward off hypoglycemia, they come back to life. Terminal patients typically received the equivalent of ten percent of their body weight in intravenous therapy to correct shock, and then they continued to receive intravenous fluids. Tetracycline or other appropriate antibiotic capsules were also given, to shorten the duration of diarrhea to about 32 hours on average.  This therapeutic miracle stood in sharp contrast to the outcomes of typical emergencies back home in New York: heart attacks, strokes, perforated ulcers and the like, where treatment often failed, never brought an immediate turnaround, and often proved merely palliative or with major ancillary complications.”
- David Nalin, Made the key discovery that led to Oral Rehydration Therapy

“As you peel back the layers of the onion one at a time, there's always another mystery behind it, another medical detective story. Often the answers come at odd times. You don't get the insights you need—either the answer or how you are going to approach a question—while you are actively thinking about it. I'll wake up at two in the morning, and I'll say, ‘Aha, I know how I'll approach that now.’  Unfortunately, a lot of times in the morning what I wrote makes no sense.”
- Al Sommer, Discovered that Vitamin A deficiency is a huge childhood killer

“Don’t try to discourage me, Ed. I know how much work is involved. Don’t tell me what can’t be done. Tell me what needs to be done – and let me do it. There’s one single factor that makes the Yaqui effort worth a try, and that’s rust. Breeding two generations a year means beating and staying ahead of the shifty stem-rust organism. If I can lick that problem by working in Sonora, then we’ve won a victory. To hell with the extra work and strain. It’s got to be done, and I believe I can do it.”
- Norman Borlaug, wanting to double breed plants in Mexico

“He was full of confident energy and enterprise. He had his workrooms equipped as if for chemistry and preferred assistants trained in that branch, not physicians or biologists. Social activities he avoided; in his view the day was for experiment only, reading and thinking could be done at night – until a late hour…. His energy was continuous and compelling, and no moment of idleness in the laboratory was tolerable to him. To each of his assistants he allotted some phase of one of his problems, to be worked upon separately, and he encouraged the trying out of any thoughts concerning it that the assistant might have. To himself new ideas came endlessly and he was continually suggesting trial experiments which ‘would take no time’. His interest was discovery, not training investigators, but each day at lunch he talked with his group about what they were doing, and when a new fact was brought to light he would call them all together to demonstrate it, asking himself and them what it meant.”
- Peyton Rous, Nobel Prize winner, on Karl Landsteiner, discoverer of blood groups