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Aaron Klug

Academy of Achievement

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Aaron Klug

Aaron Klug

Academy of Achievement

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Since the discovery of the DNA molecule in the 1950s, scientists have had a rough understanding of its structure, but for almost 30 years they labored in darkness, unable to see the actual object of their study. It took Sir Aaron Klug to shine a light down this dark corridor. Drawing on the latest advances in computers, optics and mathematics, Sir Aaron used the electron microscope and his own knowledge of x-ray crystallography to generate the first three-dimensional images of genetic material, enabling researchers to lay eyes on the actual building blocks of life. Hailed by his peers as a pioneering "geographer of molecular geology," Aaron Klug received the Nobel Prize in 1982 for his innovative work investigating and mapping the structure of genes. Born in Lithuania and educated in South Africa, Aaron Klug has carried out his research in England since the early 1950s. He was knighted by the Queen in 1988. From 1995 to 2000 he served as President of the Royal Society, Britain's leading scientific organization, once headed by Sir Isaac Newton. An ardent supporter of unfettered scientific research, he is outspoken in his belief that "the human genome itself must be freely available to all humankind." In this podcast, recorded at the 2000 International Achievement Summit in London England, he recounts his career in science and the DNA structures he illuminated. He also discusses role as President of the Royal Society and the government's role in regulating genetic technology.

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