The Scientific Activist

The winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry have been announced, and the prize will be shared equally between Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas Steitz, and Ada Yonath “for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome.” The information encoded in DNA is decoded to produce functional proteins in two stages: transcription (DNA –> RNA) and translation (RNA –> protein). This prize was awarded for the work that described this second stage in atomic detail, and you can read more about it in the scientific background document released with the prize announcement. This prize complements the 2006 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which was awarded for atomic-resolution work on transcription (although the transcription prize was specifically for work on eukaryotes, and the work recognized by the translation prize was carried out on prokaryotes).

This prize marks the sixth time in eight years that the Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded for biological work, and most of these have been for atomic-resolution structural biological work (X-ray crystallography in three cases, NMR in one). As I’ve noted before, crystallography and NMR involve a mix of biology, chemistry, and physics, so it’s reasonable that such work is often recognized by the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.


  1. #1 murugan
    October 7, 2009

    congralations,Mr.Venkatraman Ramakrishnan.Every tamilan is proud of your achievement

  2. #2 Sarah Danes
    October 8, 2009

    very good post dear

  3. #3 Jaime Lagunez
    October 8, 2009

    Congratulations Ada!! You are not just an asset to the Structural Biology Department of the Weizmann but to Israel and – as recognized with this prize, to the world.

  4. #4 Anonymous
    October 8, 2009

    NY Times:

    “Dr. Yonath’s success, meanwhile, had drawn others into the field, including Dr. Steitz, who solved a key problem on how to interpret the dots on the diagram of the large sub unit, aided by electron microscope images of the ribosome obtained by Joachim Frank, then at the Wadsworth Center in Albany and now at Columbia. Meanwhile, Dr. Ramakrishnan, who got his start in ribosomes working as a postdoctoral fellow at Yale with Dr. Steitz’s colleague Peter Moore, decoded the structure of the other half of the ribosome, the so-called small sub unit.”

    Phasing was successful thanks to the cryo-EM method by J. Frank.

  5. #5 rendev
    October 9, 2009

    For all the joint winner of Nobel Prize.
    Very indians were proud of you Mr.Venkatraman Ramakrishnan.

    Thanks for sharing this article!

  6. #6 tracy79
    October 11, 2009

    Congrats! You all deserved it..

  7. #7 ghafoor
    April 4, 2012

    Scientific notation
    What is Scientific Notation? , Scientific Notation, uses of scientific Notations, method of Scientific Notations,

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