Power of thought

As you walk the cobblestones of 601 Genome Way, you will be greeted by a bronze figure that is more than just a sculpture of a man. Instead, it is a history book, telling the story of the human journey. Entitled the “Power of Thought,” the sculpture is made up of twenty-five detailed features that acknowledge the achievements of men and women through time.

The “Power of Thought” is the brainchild of Victor Issa, one of America’s leading bronze sculptors. In developing the idea for the sculpture, Issa considered how breakthroughs come about. How do they become material that changes the world? It all starts with a single thought, thus leading to the creation of the “Power of Thought.”

Issa linked the arts, engineering and science into his work. The base of the sculpture includes inspirational art such as the Roman Colosseum, the Opera House in Sydney, Australia, and Rodin’s “The Thinker.” From an engineering standpoint, Issa said that the work here at HudsonAlpha will have an impact similar to the invention of the wheel.

“I truly believe that as the invention of the wheel lead to the bullet train, genome technology will become the wheels that transport our understanding of life,” he said. “In pursuit of depicting technology, I decided to include the birthmarks of the tech age– the transistor radio. Looking to the future, it was obvious to me that the biotech industry is now where technology was in the ’60s.”

Seeing as HudsonAlpha is about the promise of genomics, it was only right for Issa to express this through art. “I decided to honor the sciences by including a DNA sequence as a continuum of travel,” Issa said. In doing so, he sculpted a wheel on the base of the statue that turns into a steam engine, which becomes the bullet train hurtling up the track that is being pulled by the athletic figure, and is transformed into the unraveling DNA sequence.

The “Power of Thought” represents the innovative thinkers that founded HudsonAlpha, and those who continue to embody the institutes mission to expand the science of human genomics to improve human health. “You see what can be and ask, why not?” Issa said. “And then you pursue.”

The wheel began as a thought and so did HudsonAlpha. The thoughts of biotech visionaries Jim Hudson and Lonnie McMillian have led to major discoveries that have impacted disease diagnosis and treatment, created intellectual property, fostered biotechnology companies, and expanded the number of biosciences-literate people.

HudsonAlpha co-founder Jim Hudson gave the sculpture to the Institute as a gift in 2010.