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Stories About Inspiration

Inspiration ignites and sustains transformative ideas.

Inspiration sparks innovation. It opens minds and pushes boundaries. It awakens an appetite for learning and a drive for discovery. And it catalyzes new ideas.

Inspiration can fuel the individual imagination or propel the collective consciousness. At Stanford, inspiration does both.

Here, professors not only inspire but are inspired by their students every day. That shared enthusiasm and passion for learning radiates across campus in classrooms, studios, labs, and beyond.

In the School of Humanities and Sciences, the teaching experience is always a learning experience.

  • Rob ReichRob Reich
    For Rob Reich, the Socratic method of teaching is just as relevant today as it was more than 2,000 years ago. The associate professor of political science is known for engaging students in an open-ended dialogue propelled by questions—a give… Read more
  • Melanie Matchett WoodMelanie Matchett Wood
    Assistant Professor Melanie Matchett Wood’s favorite part of math is talking about the subject—and working through problems—with other people. That passion, which ignited when she began participating in math competitions in 7th grade, continues to drive her as she blazes… Read more
  • Martha CyertMartha Cyert
    For biologists like Martha Cyert, baker’s yeast is more than just an ingredient for freshly baked bread. Yeast cells not only share many characteristics with human cells but also are easier to work with in a lab, making them an… Read more
  • Paul WenderPaul Wender
    Like the enzymes that enable chemical reactions, Paul Wender acts as a catalyst at Stanford. As a global leader in the fields of molecular chemistry, designer molecules, and sustainable chemistry, his work stands at the forefront of the molecular revolution. … Read more
  • Mark ApplebaumMark Applebaum
    Plastic combs, shoehorns, ratchets, PVC pipe, doorstops, mousetraps, and Astroturf may sound like a pile of junk, but found objects like these are music to the ears of Mark Applebaum. For the past 30 years, the associate professor of music… Read more
  • Ravi VakilRavi Vakil
    Listening to Ravi Vakil talk about math is like hearing a painter speak about art. To Vakil, math is an aesthetic discipline in which his purpose is to seek beauty—the beauty of finding structures in patterns in nature, of simplifying… Read more

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