The journey to the first synthetic creation of life began 40 years ago, when researcher Craig Venter found himself in the middle of the ocean being circled by a shark. Venter, who announced in Science magazine last week that his research team had “created life” by inserting a computer-generated genome into a cell, began his career as a medic with the U.S. army in Vietnam. Unable to save hundreds of men from dying, he nearly took his own life by swimming into the South China Sea in a "black pit of depression." But the circling shark shook his suicidal notions away and he returned with newfound purpose. “A doctor can save maybe a few hundred lives in a lifetime,” Venter said. "A researcher can save the whole world.” Thus began his scientific journey, first as part of the 15-year Human Genome Project and now with his latest breakthrough. While some have dubbed him a modern-day Galileo or Einstein, others have called him “a bit of a prick.” Whichever it is, at least he's making headlines.