Nobel Prize winner talks about his life beyond science
COLUMBIA - Nobel Prize winner George P. Smith, a retired professor, says he lives a rather humble life beyond the spotlight of the world's most prestigious award.
"Every day is kind of like a weekend," he said. "There's a lot of sitting at my computer reading, reading newspapers, reading books, although, I tend to leave books on the computer."
The Nobel Laureate spends a lot of his time with a musical group.
"I am a member, actually a founding member, of the Columbia Chorale. I was one of the founders in 1978 here in Columbia," Smith said. "I'm a not very skillful tenor, but nevertheless, persistent second tenor."
The Columbia Choral, also known as Choral Arts Alliance of Missouri, "provides exceptional choral arts experiences, accessible to all individuals from beginning youth to professional musicians."
The group is made up of multiple adult ensembles.
Members had a surprise party for Smith after one of their rehearsals to celebrate his achievement and talk about his impact on the group.
"This is such a special community. We have people from all types, all walks of life. That's what makes it so beautiful to be in a choir," Emily Andrews said.
Andrews has been involved with the chorale for six years and says Smith is "one of the kindest, intelligent, most passionate people [she] has had the honor of working with."
Smith and his wife are also very involved in politics and environmental issues in the community. That interest played a part in his decision to get a bike spot on campus rather than a parking spot, when the university offered.
"I agreed to it because it's also a shout out to the other people that support alternative transportation in our city," Smith said.
The environment wasn't the only reason Smith agreed.
"My driving skills have declined, so I commute almost exclusively by bicycle rather than by car," Smith said.
Smith said he hasn't thought much about how he hopes to be remembered at the University of Missouri.
"I haven't thought about legacy in that sense; like legacy that would be attached to my name. I just hope people remember that I'm one person that tried to do my job for the university," Smith said. "It's hard to define your legacy; other people define your legacy."