Sputnik, Slime Molds, and Botticelli in the Making of a Physician-Scientist

  • R. Sanders WilliamsEmail author


Establishing a clear chain of cause and effect in any person’s life is an inherently uncertain business, but I can say with some confidence that my career as a physician-scientist had its origins on my ninth birthday on October 4, 1957, when Sputnik (Fig. 7.1) was launched into orbit by the Soviet Union. I recall noting the event itself with some fascination, but it was the response of our public education system to the “missile gap” [1] perceived by US policy-makers that really had a formative effect, because, for the next few years at least, my classrooms became filled with a wondrous array of materials for learning science. More important still, and in contrast to the American cultural milieu of more recent decades, being good at science in the 1950s and 1960s was perceived by me and many of my contemporaries as a pretty cool thing to do.


Academic Medicine Slime Mold Cellular Slime Mold Public Education System Subacute Bacterial Endocarditis 
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  1. 1.
    Snead DL (1999) The Gaither Committee, Eisenhower and the Cold War. Ohio State University Press, Columbus, OHGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Suzanne B Plato and his dialogues. (Accessed 24 August, 2010).

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The J. David Gladstone Institutes, University of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA

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