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DNA pioneer made his own luck

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

A pioneer in molecular biology, Alexander Rich helped confirm the existence of DNA’s double helix, which opened doors to hybridization and biotechnology.

He was a medical doctor as well as a biomedical scientist, and member of the RNA tie club, a group of 20 world-class molecular scientists who wore neckties emblazoned with a diagram of the molecule. Through his work to curb the nuclear arms race, he also helped prevent the Cold War from heating up.

What leaders can take from Dr. Rich’s legacy is a saying that combines Thomas Edison’s definition of genius as “1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” with Louis Pasteur’s assertion that “chance favors only the prepared mind.”

How he put it: “Persistence is luck.”

—Adapted from “Major figure in molecular biology,” Martin Weil, The Washington Post.

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