It's not every day that you learn your parent has won a coveted prize like the Nobel. I was interested, then, to hear the thoughts of Moritz Südhof, a Stanford grad student whose dad was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine yesterday. When asked for a story about how his father's work influenced him when he was growing up, he had this to say:
I remember one very particular moment with my dad that I think is characteristic of his attitude toward science and his children. In an effort to maybe turned me into a fellow researcher, he sent me to do some pipetting in the lab of one of his former postdocs, Rafael Fernández-Chacón — who is just a wonderfully amiable and dynamic man — when I was a sophomore in high school. He visited me in Rafael's lab in Seville, Spain, when he was in town one week, and he was fooling around with some lab equipment when he enthusiastically called me over and said, "Moritz! Moritz! Moritz! Look at this." He was so animated. "Isn't this just the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?" he asked. In the microscope, I could see the outline of a single neuron.
My father has an unbounded, voracious curiosity beyond neurons. It is really his passion for history, literature and particularly art that have impressed me and that define the intellectual relationship we have. And more than his work, it was my father's general attitude toward knowledge that was really influential when I was growing up.
Previously: The lure of research: How Nobel winner Thomas Südhof came to work in the basic sciences, Celebrate good (Nobel) times – come on!, Discussing the brain in Spain: Nobel Laureate Thomas Südhof addresses the media and Stanford’s Thomas Südhof wins 2013 Nobel Prize in Medicine