Time has turned one wall in Robert Weinberg's office at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research into a family photo gallery. Across the room, a tangle of tropical plants has grown as thick as the record of his 20 years of collaborative research. Weinberg, a world-renowned biologist and cancer researcher, was a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor in 1982 when David Baltimore, the Whitehead's first director, asked him to become a founding member of the fledgling institute in Cambridge, Mass. Baltimore laid out a vision of a research center that not only would allow scientists to pursue the work they loved but also encourage them to collaborate with colleagues in other disciplines. Weinberg liked what he heard and took a chance. "I came with no expectations," says Weinberg, winner of the 1997 National Medal of Science. "It turned out to be an excellent decision on my part."
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