The Free Flow of Ideas and Research in the Scientific Community

Research on glowing jellyfish proteins can lead to new developments in cancer research and treatment. It also earned Osamu Shimomura, Roger Tsien and Martin Chalfie the Nobel Prize in chemistry. Image from the Los Angeles Times.

Important contributions to society cannot be crafted by one individual. Rather, they are a group project, developed and created by a body of hard working individuals, rather than just the few that get the credit. This is true in the art world just as it is true in the science world. And no one knows this better than Douglas Prasher.

In 1988, Prasher was at the top of chemistry research society. His work on jellyfish proteins helped secure Roger Tsien and Martin Chalfie the 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry, according to an article posted by the Cape Cod Times. But today, Prasher makes his living driving a courtesy shuttle.

But at age 56, Prasher regrets nothing. After his grant had ran out, Prasher willing gave his research and samples to his associates Chalfie and Tsien. The men continued his work, and were offered the Nobel Prize last week with their associate Osamu Shimomura after perfecting a technique to help isolate and track cancer cells in the human body using a glowing jellyfish protein.

Although he has helped gain his friends and fellow scientists wealth and fame, Prasher was happy to help. He thinks only of the larger impact his work will have on cancer research and treatment.

This kind of selflessness is something that everyone can aspire to. Whether you’re an artisan or a scientist, a craftsman or a researcher, you can understand the importance of the free sharing of ideas for the common good.

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