The Fruits of Curiosity
Luncheon presentation by Ada E. Yonath, Recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Registration: 12:15 pm
Luncheon: 12:30 pm
Close: 2:00 pm
"Already at five, I was actively investigating the world. In one of my experiments I tried to measure the height of our tiny balcony using the furniture from inside the apartment. I put a table on another table, and then a chair and a stool on top, but did not reach the ceiling. Hence, I climbed up on my construct, fell down to the back yard on the ground floor and broke my arm ... Incidentally, the results of this experiment are still unknown, since the current tenants in the apartment have remodeled the ceiling."
— Ada Yonath on the fruits of her curiosity
Ada Yonath, recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry will discuss what triggered her curiosity in science. She will also explore how investigating the mystery behind translating the genetic code enriched her knowledge of this extremely important process and provided scientific "tools" for combating resistance to antibiotics, one of the most problematic issues in modern medicine.
Ada Yonath is the Kimmel Professor of Structural Biology and Director of the Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly at the Weizmann Institute of Science, and previously headed a Max-Plank Research Unit in Hamburg. Professor Yonath studies the universal fundamental process of translating the genetic code into proteins. She focuses on ribosomes, the cellular "factories" performing this task. Based on the universality of the ribosomes she is exploring the origins of life as well as their clinical significance, as owing to their fundamental significance, the ribosomes are targeted by many antibiotics. Thus, by investigating their action alongside the mechanisms acquiring antibiotics resistance, she is revealing novel routes for drug improvements and design. Professor Yonath is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the European Academy of Sciences and Art. She holds honorary doctorates from universities including New York University, Mount Sinai University, Hamburg University, Oxford University and Cambridge University. In addition to receiving the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, she is the recipient of numerous other awards including the Rothschild Prize, UNESCO/L'Oreal Award for Women in Science and the Albert Einstein World Award for Excellence. Professor Yonath studied at Hebrew University, earned her Ph.D. degree from Weizmann Institute of Science and completed her postdoctoral studies at Carnegie Mellon University and MIT.