When Michael Smith took a share of the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1993 for his work in reprogramming genes, 1989 Nobelist J. Michael Bishop, University Professor in the department of microbiology and immunology at the University of California, San Francisco, offered some friendly advice: Learn to say "no."

Michael Smith JUST SAY NO: 1993 laureate Michael Smith was advised to turn down invitations.

Previous Nobel laureates warn that the attention and instant celebrity in the first year-even up to the third year-after winning the prize can be overwhelming. For many, it becomes the busiest time of their life. Smith, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and director of the University of British Columbia's biotechnology center, didn't heed Bishop's advice, though he's hardly complaining. While most Nobelists-including Smith-would agree with Bishop, they also talk about the vast opportunities winning the prize presents. These might include, for example, new...

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