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Spring 2000

Nobel Men
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Cram's formula for success derives from childhood, when he developed the habit of motivating himself by setting personal challenges and announcing goals that others doubted he could achieve. Even after he won his Nobel, he says, "I did something most people wouldn't be foolish enough to do. I went all over the world, giving a talk on what I was going to do and how it was going to turn out.

"When you think that only about 20 percent of what you try actually matures, you can see I was going out on a very long limb." But the risk "upped the ante from a personal point of view and I used it to drive myself." His formula worked well enough that, although he hasn't won them, Cram has since been nominated for Nobel Prizes in two fields other than organic chemistry.

To this day, Cram is still physically active, but "too impatient for golf." He skis and plays tennis although, at age 80, he restricts himself to doubles.

So approachable are Boyer, Ignarro and Cram that an interviewer forgets to be intimidated. But the magnitude of their achievements requires a closing comment commensurate with their stature. In another context, Abraham Lincoln once said that, "towering genius disdains a beaten path. It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor, no matter how illustrious. It thirsts and burns for distinction, and if possible, it will have it."

Here are three Bruins who "have it."


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