Schwarzenegger, Venter and I

Posted: December 23, 2009 in Published Articles
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The Terminator, Sequencer and I

 No! We are not connected or even distantly related. It just so happened that the three of us were at the same place at the same time by circumstances and what a pleasant meeting it was. I had hoped to see these people at some point more, out of curiosity than anything else. I did get my chance finally with the event being the Bio 2008 convention

That was held in San Diego with 20,000 people from all over the world and representing 45 states and 70 countries. This was an event of gigantic proportions with a meeting of minds, both of the business and scientific world. Being a Press Reporter I was able to attend the event and get up, close and personal (No…not that close) to take pictures.

 Arnold Schwarzenegger needs no introduction. Almost everyone around the world knows his name and is familiar with his “I’ll be back” and “Asta La Vista Baby!”…and who can forget his Tango in the movie True Lies?? Arnold is the twice elected governor of California; elected in 2003 and re-elected in 2006. A Republican, a very charismatic personality with a very distinct Austrian accent with a stage presence. His wife Maria Shriver is no stranger either. Coming from a legacy of the Kennedy clan she is a Democrat and the First Lady of California. A rare combination of strange bedfellows in politics. She is a prolific writer , an award winning journalist and started the californiaVolunteers.org involved in a lot of social activities and charity.

 In addition Arnold is a very progressive thinker and has often adapted liberal views and policies. Though the state of California has remained in the red in terms of deficit for a while he has tried to rope in and lure more investors here for a good measure. His speech was very interesting in itself and quite humorous as he took a dig at the Democratic Party and called it a ‘sickness’ that needed to be cured. Considering that his wife is a democrat he said that he loved her and took her in with her ‘sickness’ and ‘health’ (referring to the Democrats) and that he was hoping the scientists would find a cure one day for the same.

 Craig. J. Venter on the other hand needs no introduction either to the scientific community who knows him very well. His name has always conjured up awe and inspiration from scientists for his maverick stance on scientific issues and on how he set aside his own personal issues aside and rode success like nobody else. Initially he was one of those ex-surfer and Vietnam War veterans who had failed miserably in school and had contemplated committing suicide in Vietnam by walking into the sea but changed his mind and walked back to create history for himself. In his book “A Life Decoded” he laid bare all his life and his rise to stardom. He went on to do his PhD in Physiology and Pharmacology and further on joined NIH. He founded the Institute of Genomic Research and was the pioneer in mapping the human genome along with Francis Collins. He is currently the president of Craig. J. Venter Institute and continuing to do groundbreaking scientific contributions to the world.

 Ever since I started doing scientific research for my graduate studies, I had been fascinated with this particular Scientist who with his maverick streak had made things happen. He was in and out of controversies but always succeeded in making bright, innovative mega contributions to the scientific world making it easier for the rest of the world to follow through and produce more amazing discoveries with regard to human diseases and medicine. His speech was excellent and inspiring to the thousand and odd people who had assembled to hear him talk.

 In addition awards were distributed to young scientists from all over the world for their innovative research and several of them were Asians with three Indians. The best research effort went to an Indian girl from Australia.

 Several prominent personalities from the Indian Biotech field and the Government (DBT) represented India for a Panel discussion. The discussion mainly centered on luring investors to the growing Biotech Sector in India poised to become as prominent as the IT Sector.

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Edited article published in ASIA NEWS-west coast edition

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