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March 11, 2010 | 12:00 a.m. CST
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Eureka. It’s that moment of epiphany, a realization that’s career-defining, that trumps everyday findings and makes countless hours spent leafing through stacks of 90-year-old newspapers or painstakingly piecing together a genome worth it. Innovators as diverse as Albert Einstein, Gloria Steinem and Thomas Edison are permanent fixtures in our history because of their “Aha!” moments, and the people of Columbia are following in their footsteps. These individual breakthrough moments, such as managing populations of endangered forest elephants or creating better-fitting fire gear, affect more than just the researcher. They secure Columbia as a place where initial concepts turn into concrete realities.