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Imagination is more important than knowledge

Working as a pediatric neurosurgeon, it is one of the most rewarding professions. According to Prof. Maurice Choux over 20 years ago, my mentor, neurosurgery would be a long investment career, but with assured emotional profits. Advances in technology and communication will make these profits come even earlier in one´s career.
As the Chairman of the Pediatric Neurosurgery Committee of the World Federation of Neurosurgery Societies (WFNS), the Vice-Chair of the Liaison Committee of the World Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery (ISPN) and the Director of Women in Neurosurgery of the Brazilian Society of Neurosurgery (SBN), I now realize how time passed so fast.
I remember coming to São Paulo for the first time and having only a few colleagues in neurosurgery.
Slowly, new opportunities were available, and I started off as a general neurosurgeon. My participation in the associative area began even before I was registered at the Regional Council of Medicine of the State of São Paulo (CREMESP). When I moved from Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo, I was only registered at the Regional Medical Council of Rio (CREMERJ), a period of which the Association of Neurosurgeons of the State of São Paulo (SONESP) was created.
I was one of the first members of SONESP and signed the foundation charter with Doctor Miguel Giudicissi Filho, who has always been a great motivator of SONESP. I am also very grateful to Doctor Gelson Soeira, a gifted neurosurgeon, for giving me the opportunity to work at different hospitals in São Paulo.

I soon was elected as Coordinator of Pediatric Neurosurgery Commission of the SBN. Before that, no neurosurgeon had been at the head of a department, which, in pediatrics, corresponds to the presidency of the Brazilian Society of Pediatric Neurosurgery, SBNPed, a member of the Childs Nervous System Journal, an official journal of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery (ISPN).

At the same time, the master’s and doctor’s degree in neurosurgery at the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP) was a natural consequence of my trajectory. I had the privilege of being the first woman to attend them in the neurosurgical area, at the time the only specific post-graduation course in neurosurgery in Brazil, one of the main reasons to come to Sao Paulo.

Therefore, I believe that there is a strategic plan combining profession and personal life, which is the basis for seeking a specific goal in life. One cannot be so rigid about life.

Today, and probably soon, I believe that professions will have more flexibility in time, practice and the workplace. The exchange of knowledge, techniques and experience in neurosurgery between countries will become even easier than it already is today. We already have countless innovations emerging, particularly with the development of new technologies that minimize morbidities during surgical procedures.
To conclude, I quote the great Albert Einstein: ” “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”




Nelci Zanon Collange
Pediatric Neurosurgeon

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