I have to share this news story about John Gurdon, who is one of the 2012 Nobel Prize Winners in Medicine. He was no prodigy — in fact, he had issues in school. The news article contained an image of one of his school report cards. His early performance did not bode well for his future in science. In fact, one Biology report card comment was so harsh that I thought it was worth putting into my quote database (I have a database for everything).
It has been a disastrous half. His work has been far from satisfactory. His prepared stuff has been badly learnt, and several of his test pieces have been torn over; one of such pieces of prepared work scored 2 marks out of a possible 50. Hs other work has been equally bad, and several times he has been in trouble, because he will not listen, but will insist on doing his work his own way. I believe he 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 sheer waste of time, both on his part, and of those who have to teach him.
I have known a number of people whose performance in school bore no resemblance to their performance on the job. I have always wondered about what causes these differences in performance. After three decades in engineering, I am no closer to the the answer.