born 1939

How did Dr. Ada Yonath become the first woman in 45 years to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry? By doing something that most scientists said could not be done. 

The Jerusalem native didn't go into science because she wanted to make a profession of it, but only because she was "curious." That curiosity kept her going for two decades on a seemingly impossible task ~ giving the world a map of the ribosome. Scientists knew the "what?" and "why?" of our cells' protein factories, but Ada's team filled in the "how?" Answering that question has been a boon to advanced medicine + antibiotics. Today, the renowned crystallographer's pioneering process to capture ribosome structures has not only beat the odds, but became the new standard.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Ada Yonath (6)

"Those who laughed at me became my competitors."

Leading Jewish Inspiration | may 2010

"To solve a problem, one has to be curious and dedicated and industrious and bold. It does not matter what their gender is."

Leading Jewish Inspiration | may 2010

"I am not a competitive character . . . I do science by enjoying science, not by thinking whether I will be first."

Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings | july 2010

"If you love your child and you love your work, you find ways to get by. It is the quality of relationship that you have, rather than the number of hours."

Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings | july 2010

"I had to solve things doubt by doubt."

Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings | july 2010

"Ribosomes are really clever."

Curiosity and its Fruits | june 2013
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curated with care by Alicia Williamson