(Originally published by Columbia University)
September 14, 2015Last weekend, Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel visited a high school in Ahrensburg, Germany, that was named in his honor earlier this year. He described the two days, where he met the staff and students of Eric Kandel Gymnasium and participated in classes and performances, as a “special and proud moment.” Professor Kandel is University Professor and Kavli Professor of Brain Science at Columbia University. He is also senior investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science, also at Columbia.
Dr. Kandel’s name was chosen from a list of 80 names proposed for the school. The school identified Dr. Kandel, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2000 and was a refugee born to Austrian Jewish parents who fled to the United States in 1929, as a wonderful fit for its criteria, which included high achievement, social responsibility, and diversity.
“This is one of the leading neuroscientists of our time, and he is the namesake of our school. Why? We wanted someone who has set an example through community involvement, can identify with both students and teachers and whose name reflects the diversity of our school,” school principal Gerd Burmeister told Hamburger Abendblatt.
During the visit, Dr. Kandel fielded several questions from students ranging from why he chose to become a scientist and how he decided to study the brain. When one child asked: “How does it feel to be Nobel Prize winner?” Dr. Kandel’s answer was lighthearted. “It’s not bad,” he said, adding: “It’s a wonderful thing that you should not refuse.”
His main advice for students? “Awaken the passion to learn. Students should accept the challenge of lifelong learning.”
Link to Hamburger Abendblatt article (in German).
All images are courtesy of Eric Kandel Gymnasium: