The guy who discovered green fluorescent protein, which earned three others a Nobel Prize, works as a driver!
The green fluorescent protein, or GFP, was discovered in 1961 by Osamu Shimomura. GFP is what gives the Aequoria Victoria Jellyfish its glow. In the 1980s, Douglas Prashner began isolating and working with the GFP gene. He thought the gene’s fluorescent properties could help view formerly invisible molecular functions.
He was given a $220,000 grant from the American Cancer Society in 1988 to isolate and copy the gene. After four years the money ran dry and Prashner hadn’t accomplished his goal. Prashner gave his research to colleagues in his field to continue the research. They were able to accomplish what he was unable to and in 2008 Osamu Shimomura and the other two researchers were given the Nobel Prize and a check for $1.4 million.
Prashner had previously lost his job due to funding and now works for a Toyota dealership in Alabama as a courtesy shuttle driver for $10 an hour while trying to put two children through college.