Last Updated 28 Jan 2021

Robert. M. Sapolsky: An Example of Versatility and Dedication

Category Anthropology
Words 463 (1 page)
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Civilization is a flow of billions of human beings, but it is only few who take up the task of developing it. It is purely their hard work that secures, augments, ramifies and manifests the lives of the rest.

Away from the usual buzz of the society or any glitz, these people devote their energy, time and attention on the discoveries of science and art.

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These hermits, who are usually oblivious of laurels or social recognition, rightfully deserve to be highlighted, as that could inspire many to become their active followers. Hence, this essay focuses on a person who belongs to that rank and file, with a trail of his contribution in the field of biology. He is Robert. M. Sapolsky.

The Sparks and Steps
Chance collision ruled Sapolsky's destiny. Otherwise, even he didn't imagine that someone groomed in urban settings like Benson Hurst and Brooklyn, could fall in love with Natural History Museum of New York, and subsequently with paleontology – which finally set the mind of a boy of 12 years to explore the lives of primates for the rest of his life.

That concrete aim about future made him taking Swahili at the school level, as he was determined to go to Africa! After that, he developed his interest on neuroscience, which propelled his focus on the neurobiological basis of behavior. In this way a roadmap of his activities were made: from field behavior to brain and behavior.

He found his mentor in Melvin Konnor (the writer of 'The Tangled Wing', on brain and behavior), who was the chairman of anthropology at Emory University, whose writing prowess equally attracted Sapolsky. No wonder, he gradually has risen himself to the rank of his mentor, by becoming a researcher per excellence and also one of the finest scientific and natural history writer, save his oratory skills.

Otherwise, he received his Ph.D. in Neuroendocrinology from Rockefeller University, before receiving his AB in biological anthropology from Harvard University. Currently he is a professor at Stanford University.

On the Field
The umpteenth number of solitary sojourns in the grasslands of Kenya for 20 years, coupled with uncounted hours in laboratory perhaps took Sapolsky where he is today – most knowledgeable person on earth about baboon behavior, an inveterate researcher of neuroscience, a magnificent orator and a prolific writer, who once made Serengeti as his hermitage.

Sapolsky, the Common Man
He has two young kids and a zoologist wife. Since the kids are not yet ready to lead a tent-life, he has to shuttle between Manhattan and Nairobi, but that doesn't put up any stress on him – why, he himself is a stress specialist! He misses out nothing, except his piano sessions – though there is a piano in his lab, which was once brought by his first salary – he doesn't get time for it anymore!

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