5 October 2016 “Thoughts about the Origin of Life” Nobel Laureate Prof. Ada Yonath (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel)
Nobel Laureate Prof. Ada Yonath was born in Jerusalem in 1939 to Zionist immigrants. After her father, a grocer and rabbi, died, the family moved to Tel Aviv where Ada attended Tichon Hadash High School. After military service, she entered the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, receiving a BS in chemistry in 1962 and an MS in biochemistry in 1964 before earning a PhD in X-Ray crystallography in 1968 at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. Moving to America, Yonath worked at the Carnegie Mellon University and MIT together with F.A. Cotton. From 1979-84 she was a group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin and headed their research unit in Hamburg from 1986–2004 as well as the Mazar Center of Structural Biology (1988-2004). She has been a professor at the Weizmann Institute since 1988, heading the Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly since 1989. She has also served as visiting professor at the University of Chicago. She is a member of the US National Academy, the Israel Academy and several European Academies (France, German, Italian, Spain, UK).
Yonath has received several awards, including the first European Crystallography Prize in 2000, the Israel Prize for chemistry in 2002 and shared the Wolf Prize in Chemistry with George Feher. The 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was shared between Ada E. Yonath, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas A. Steitz, each of whom has contributed to our knowledge of the “…structure and function of the ribosome”.