Venki Ramakrishnan: I had an undergraduate degree in physics from India. Then I went to Ohio University — which is a decent university, but it’s not like a top-ranked university — and did theoretical physics.  Then I switched to biology at University of California, San Diego, but I didn’t go on to get a second degree. Then I used a weird technique, neutron scattering, to look at a biological problem.  Then I’m applying to biology and biochemistry departments.  These people look at — so there are two kinds of places — one is research universities, and they look at neutron scattering, and they think, “Does this guy want a nuclear reactor?  We don’t have one on campus, and anyway, what’s this neutron scattering going to do for biology? And he’s been to all these sorts of — we don’t even know what to make of his CV, and he doesn’t have any papers in top fancy journals,” and so on.  So they just put my application into pile B, and I probably have done the same thing.  Then I also applied to four-year colleges.  America has lots and lots of excellent four-year colleges — and some not so excellent ones, too.  They probably saw, “Hey, wait a minute. Look at this guy’s long name.  He’s from India.  We don’t even know if he speaks English.  How do we know he’s even going to be able to teach?  And he has this slightly weird background.”  So I went into pile B for them, too.  So I was actually lucky, in the end, to get a job at a national lab.