“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration”
- Thomas Alva Edison, Inventor.
On-the-ground engagement teams frame their thinking and the way they work, with the attributes constantly playing out below, on the back of their minds. Each and every member of the UC team is encouraged to draw inspiration from these masters.
Charles Darwin's landmark work on evolution is considered to be the keystone of biology. During his five-year voyage to the Galapagos Islands, Darwin studied many species and carefully built his theory of evolution by natural selection. He suggested that nature seemed to experiment with many alternatives, allowing evolutionary variations to play out, but deftly selecting the one most fit for the environment.
Nicolaus Copernicus was an astronomer who propagated the unthinkable; a heliocentric view of the solar system with the sun at its centre, not our earth. He also described the correct orbital order of the known planets. Questioning age-old ideas is a daunting challenge, but transforming people's beliefs truly takes herculean efforts. Copernicus succeeded at both. With methodical research and intellectual perseverance, he convinced people to accept reality.
Against All Odds
Christopher Columbus sailed against the tide of belief, braved the fearsome Atlantic Ocean and discovered the New World in 1492. His epic voyage marked the beginning of European exploration and colonisation of the Americas. Columbus had the tenacity to follow his belief and as a result, radically altered the course of history. But, he wasn’t sailing blind; he did months and months of meticulous research, before he took that one giant leap of faith.
Alexander the Great was one of history’s most successful military commanders who conquered most of the known world by age 33, and remained undefeated by any enemy. Alexander was a legend to many nationalities and imbibed the culture of every land he ventured to. He encouraged inter-cultural marriages, drew soldiers from different provinces to mix cultures within his army, and developed a uniform currency for all nations under his rule.
Tansen was one of the greatest Indian musicians of all time, instrumental in creating the distinctive style of North Indian classical music. One of the most valued musicians in the court of Mughal Emperor Akbar, he was counted as one of the "Navaratmas", or nine jewels of the court. Tansen's musical expressions were so intense that there are legends of him inspiring rain when he sand Raga Megh Malhar and igniting lamps when he rendered Raga Deepak.
William Shakespeare is acknowledged as the world’s greatest writer and dramatist. He wrote about 38 plays and 154 sonnets, as well as a variety of other poems and is the most quoted writer in the history of the English-speaking world. Shakespeare had the ability to bring together myriad characters, around which he would spin captivating and convoluted tales. Shakespeare said – "All the world’s a stage...And one man in his time plays many parts..."
Plato was an immensely influential Greek philosopher, a disciple of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle. He was a writer of philosophical dialogues and founder of The Academy in Athens, the first known European University. Most great philosophers of the modern western world, attribute the root of their thinking to Plato and his pursuit of knowledge. Plato believed that the innate intelligence in all people could be enhanced by external facilitation.
Isaac Newton was a mathematician, physicist, astronomer and alchemist, widely regarded as one of the greatest scientists and mathematicians in history. Newton discovered universal gravitation and the three laws of motion, laying the groundwork for classical mechanics. His obsessive questioning, combined with deep intellect and great perseverance, drove him to explore and ultimately prove his ideas.
Albert Einstein, Nobel Laureate, laid the foundation for how science currently views time, space, energy and gravity. He formulated the special and general theories of relativity. In the 1900s, many physicists believed they already knew all there was to be known and precious little was left to discover. Einstein, surprisingly, used only existing theories and equations, but synthesized them to reach drama-tically new conclusions.
Painter, sculptor, anatomist, architect, engineer, inventor, musician, mathematician and philosopher, Leonardo da Vinci was the greatest genius to have ever walked this earth. As a child Leonardo barely attended school, never trained in the classics and was not formally taught how to think. He learned purely by observing nature; the flowing streams, the falling leaves and painstakingly drew what he observed.