Today I got to attend a talk by William Foege, “Bill” as we were told to call him, at my university. If you do not know who he is check out the wikipedia article on him. It was a really inspiring talk, he seemed really personable, not at all like Richard Dawkins. Don’t get me wrong I loved hearing Dawkins speak and he’s an amazing person for his work in atheism, but Foege was very compassionate and seemed genuinely interested in all of the people he met. It does make sense though taking their work into consideration, Foege would naturally have more personable skills.
I wanted to share this for two reasons that pertain to this blog:
The first was his speaking to the idea that everybody in science and technology also benefits from being an artist. He believes that in some was these professions are innately creative and it helps a person to do things outside of their specialties. He spoke to the idea that we need to keep our perspectives general and broad while still being specialized. It helps technicians, doctors, and research scientists keep in mind why they devote so much time to helping people. I appreciate hearing this sentiment because it’s not always encouraged.
The second idea that he spoke of was letting your career take its own path. He had no idea that one day he would eradicate smallpox, but that ended up being one of his biggest accomplishments. He spoke about having an idea of the impact you want to have, but being willing to take an unexpected route there. I love this because I love not having a specific life plan, but simply trying to make an impact at any given point in time. “Not all those who wander are lost”, a favorite Tolkien quote.