Don't be afraid of hard work. Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Don't let others discourage you or tell you that you can't do it. In my day I was told women didn't go into chemistry. I saw no reason why we couldn't.

— Gertrude B. Elion

The most empowering Gertrude B. Elion quotes that will transform you to a better person

People ask me often [whether] the Nobel Prize [was] the thing you were aiming for all your life, and I say that would be crazy. Nobody would aim for a Nobel Prize because, if you didn't get it, your whole life would be wasted. What we were aiming at was getting people well, and the satisfaction of that is much greater than any prize you can get.

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The Nobel Prize is fine, but the drugs I've developed are rewards in themselves.

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I had fallen in love with a young man.

.. and we were planning to get married. And then he died of subacute bacterial endocarditis... Two years later with the advent of penicillin, he would have been saved. It reinforced in my mind the importance of scientific discovery...

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I had no specific bent towards science until my grandfather, who died - that summer - of stomach cancer. ... I decided that nobody should suffer that much.

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That was the turning point. It was as though the signal was there, 'This is the disease you're going to have to work against.' I never really stopped to think about anything else. It was that sudden.

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I think it's a very valuable thing for a doctor to learn how to do research, to learn how to approach research, something there isn't time to teach them in medical school. They don't really learn how to approach a problem, and yet diagnosis is a problem; and I think that year spent in research is extremely valuable to them.

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It is important to go into work you would like to do.

Then it doesn't seem like work. You sometimes feel it's almost too good to be true that someone will pay you for enjoying yourself. I've been very fortunate that my work led to useful drugs for a variety of serious illnesses. The thrill of seeing people get well who might otherwise have died of diseases like leukemia, kidney failure, and herpes virus encephalitis cannot be described in words.

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Nobody . . . took me seriously. They wondered why in the world I wanted to be a chemist when no women were doing that. The world was not waiting for me.

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Maybe I was young and 'cute' (after all, I was only twenty then), but I've learned over the years that when you put white lab coats on chemists, they all look alike!

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