Who’s in Charge of Inspiration?





When I first met George Yancopoulos, I was dazzled… not by his good looks (although he is handsome by any measure)… not even by his scientific acumen (which is impressive by any measure). The thing I admired most about George is his left brain…his artistic side…his je ne sais quoi side… the side that many scientists believe drives a person’s creativity. Now, I admit that the guy is a whiz at science. He mixes neurons, and plays around with genes until a spark appears, most likely somewhere in his left hemisphere. To be honest, some people believe that this left brain/right brain theory is just a myth. However, speak to his staff and there is ample evidence that George is an innovator… a dreamer… a cool chap who thinks up new treatments that don’t exist and then invents them, like a recently-announced skin cancer medication. He thinks a cure for other cancers may be just around the Regeneron-corner. This November, ArtsWestchester gave its first Innovator Award to George Yancopoulos, “a visionary leader who seizes the power of an idea to make the world a better place.”

So, frankly I was stunned by what George had to say when he got up to speak. He said that “most great ideas are old ideas.” Then, he reached back to his Greek heritage and proclaimed that “the source of all inspiration and creativity” is the nine muses in Greek mythology. Silly me. I thought it was the left brain. Turns out that George is not only a scientist and an innovator, but also a poet. The way he tells it, these muses are the daughters of Zeus, who gave artists, philosophers and individuals the necessary inspiration for creation. They are the personifications of literary arts, music, visual arts and science. They were brought to life by Zeus to ward off the evils of the past and relieve sorrows. That’s just what George does every day at Regeneron…speaks to his muses, and partners with his colleagues on new ways to relieve sorrows.