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Learning from the Nobel Laureates Presented by: Dr. Hon-Ming Lam Department of Biology The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

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Presentation on theme: "Learning from the Nobel Laureates Presented by: Dr. Hon-Ming Lam Department of Biology The Chinese University of Hong Kong."— Presentation transcript:

1 Learning from the Nobel Laureates Presented by: Dr. Hon-Ming Lam Department of Biology The Chinese University of Hong Kong

2 What Constitutes to a Great Scientists? Curiosity Sensitivity Determination Dare to Challenge Authority Persistence Creativity Ethics Care for Humanity

3 Alexander Fleming: Sensitivity Catches Luck In 1928, while working on influenza virus, he observed that a green mold (Penicillium) had developed accidentally on a staphylococcus culture plate and had created a bacteria-free circle around the mold. The antibiotic penicillin was developed based on this observation. Penicillin had saved numerous lives especially during WWII. He received the Nobel Prize on Physiology or Medicine in 1945.

4 Baruj Benacerraf: Determination Drives an Entrepreneur into a Scientist Coming from a rich family that runs business enterprise When his father was serious sick, he took charge of the family business When his father died, he bought a bank in USA and continued his study in Columbia University In 1957, he quitted the banker job and focused on research His works contributed to the understanding of genetically determined structures on the cell surface that regulate immunological reactions He received the Nobel Prize on Physiology or Medicine in 1980

5 Thomas Cech: Breaking a Scientific Dogma In the past, most scientists accepted the following dogma: DNA – RNA – Protein – Enzymatic Activities But the synthesis of DNA and RNA require enzymatic activities – who came first? Using a protist as a study model, he showed that RNA has catalytic activities Some pharmaceutical companies are thinking of using this discovery to cure disease due to RNA viruses He received the Nobel Prize on Chemistry in 1989.

6 Barbara McClintock a Model of Unflagging Persistence Born in 1902 National Academy of Sciences USA member in 1944 Elected president of the Genetics Society of America in 1945 First report on transposable elements (jumping genes) in 1951 Nobel Prize on Medicine or Physiology in

7 James Waston and Francis Crick: Creativity and Innovation Bring Victory Waston and Crick built the correct DNA model based on data from other scientists (X-ray diffraction by Rosalind Franklin and base-pairing by Erwin Chargaff) They published their double helix DNA model in 1953 They received Nobel Prize on Medicine or Physiology in 1962

8 James Waston: Ethical Controversy Maurice Wilkins showed James Waston a X-ray photograph on DNA taken by Rosalind Franklin without her prior approval Many scientists believed that this X-ray was critical for the building of the double helix DNA model; Waston and Crick never acknowledged Franklin in their publication In the book “Double Helix” by Waston, he described Franklin overbearing, aggressive, emotional, “unfeminine”, and a negative role-model for a proper woman Franklin died at age 38 in 1958 and could never defend for herself

9 Pierre Curie and Marie Curie: From Science to Humanity Before getting married, Pierre Curie wrote to Marie “to spend life side by side, in the sway of our dreams: your patriotic dream, our humanitarian dream and our scientific dream To test if radium could be used in therapy, Pierre tested it on his own skin; radiotherapy was then born; Pierre died in 1906 due to overwork and car accident During the WWI, Marie used X-rays to help in surgery; the almost blinded Marie died of leukemia in 1934 Pierre and Marie never patented their findings to improve their own financial situation; they wanted everyone in need to use their inventions

10 Pierre Curie and Marie Curie: From Science to Humanity Pierre and Marie received Nobel Prize on Physics in 1903, for the discovery of natural radioactive elments (such as polonim and radium) In 1911, Marie received Nobel Prize on Chemistry, for determining the atomic weight of radium. Their daughter Irene Joliot-Curie and their son-in-law Frederic Joliot-Curie received Nobel Prize on Chemistry in 1935, for the discovery of artificial radioactive elements

11 Norman Borlaug: Science to Fight Hunger In 1970, the Nobel Prize Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Dr. Borlaug for his efforts to increase world food production. The committee called the Green Revolution a “technological breakthrough which makes it possible to abolish hunger in the developing countries in the course of a few years”

12 Norman Borlaug: Science to Stop Hunger


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