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Sir John Gurdon, Nobel Prize winner, was ‘too stupid’ for science at school

Nobel prize won by Briton written off in his teens by a science teacher

According to his Eton schoolmaster, the 15-year-old Gurdon did not stand out as a potential scientist. Writing in 2006, Gurdon quoted a school report as saying: “I believe Gurdon has ideas about becoming a scientist; on his present showing this is quite ridiculous; if he can’t learn simple biological facts, he would have no chance of doing the work of a specialist, and it would be a sheer waste of time, both on his part and of those who would have to teach him.”

That year, Gurdon scored the lowest mark for biology in his year at Eton. “Out of 250 people, to come bottom of the bottom form is quite something, and in a way the most remarkable achievement I could have been said to make,” he said.

This is a problem with the school system – if the teacher cannot see that their input is more or less equal to, or less than the student’s output, they consider that there is nothing there of value.   Some people cannot be measured by conventional means!

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