Nobel laureate John Gurdon 'was too stupid' to study science at school

      British scientist Sir John Gurdon, who has been awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for his pioneering work on cloning, was told that 'he was too stupid to study the subject'. At the age of 15, Sir Gurdon ranked last out of the 250 boys in his biology group, and was in the bottom set in every other science subject. Sixty-four years later he has been recognised as one of the finest minds of his generation after being awarded the 750,000 pounds annual prize, which he shares with Japanese stem cell researcher Shinya Yamanaka.

According to the Telegraph, while speaking after learning of his award in London on Monday, Sir Gurdon revealed that his school report still sits above his desk at the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge , which is named in his honour. While it might be less than complimentary, noting that for him to study science at University would be a 'sheer waste of time', Sir Gurdon said it is the only item he has ever framed. The master, a Mr Gaddum, was in fact a museum curator by profession who had been hired to teach the lowest-achieving pupils and was not in fact a particularly effective teacher, he explained. "The main gist of it was that he had heard Gurdon was interested in doing science and that this was a completely ridiculous idea because there was no hope whatever of my doing science," the paper quoted Sir Gurdon, as saying. "When you have problems like an experiment doesn't work, which often happens, it's nice to remind yourself that perhaps after all you are not so good at this job and the schoolmaster may have been right," he added.

According to the paper, after receiving the report Sir Gurdon said he switched his attention to classics and was offered a place to study at Christ Church , Oxford, but was allowed to switch courses and read zoology instead because of a mix-up in the admissions office. It was at Oxford as a postgraduate student that Sir Gurdon published his landmark research on genetics and proved for the first time that every cell in the body contains the same genes, the report said.

Custom Search

Home    Contact Us
 Free contributions of articles and reports may be sent to
All Rights Reserved ©