Courtesy of Caltech
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packard-foundation

When Dr. Frances Arnold received a call from the Nobel committee telling her she'd been awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize for chemistry, she was "stunned."

When you hear about her life up to that moment, you won't be.

Arnold was never one to be told what she could or couldn't do. At 15, she moved out of her parents' house in Pittsburgh as an act of rebellion, and supported herself by working in pizza parlors, as a waitress in jazz clubs, and as a taxi driver. She went to high school — occasionally — and managed to graduate, despite collecting a stack of truancy letters along the way.

She never stopped learning, though, even when she skipped class. She was always teaching herself things, from foreign languages to music to math.

"My power is collecting knowledge," she said in a podcast. "Somehow I knew early on that knowledge was like money in the bank. That if you could collect experiences, if you could teach yourself calculus, if you could read a history book — all of which I loved to do — if you could teach yourself music, then somehow it would add up."

And add up it did. Despite her shaky high school attendance, Arnold was admitted to Princeton — in part, she says, because she was the only female applicant to the mechanical engineering program, and in part because her dad was a nuclear physicist Princeton alum who may have pulled a few strings. (Despite her rebellion in high school and some clashes of opinion, Arnold had a close relationship with her father. "We fought all the time," she told the New York Times. "But he understood me.")

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Jeff Richards
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One of the ways to test the durability of a romantic relationship is to move in together, but if you really want to live on the edge? Move in together amid a pandemic.

When Jeff Richards and his boyfriend, Alex, made the decision to move into a new apartment together, they had no idea that their city of Boston would go into lockdown just a few days later. During their quest to find the perfect place, they'd considered getting a one-bedroom but ended up picking the two-bedroom option—a decision Jeff says the couple is thankful for each day. Alex, a lawyer who is now working from home for the foreseeable future, converted the second bedroom into an office.

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