News of the WeekCHEMISTRY NOBEL

Honors to Researchers Who Probed Atomic Structure of Ribosomes

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Science  16 Oct 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5951, pp. 346-347
DOI: 10.1126/science.326_346

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Summary

This year's Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists who revealed the atomic structure and inner workings of the ribosome: Ada Yonath of the Weizmann Institute of Science; Thomas Steitz of Yale University; and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan of the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology. All three used a technique known as x-ray crystallography to pinpoint the position of thousands of atoms in the ribosome, and each will share one-third of the $1.4 million prize. But some researchers—including all three new Nobelists themselves—note that the Nobel Committee's self-imposed rule limiting each prize to no more than three recipients left other ribosome pioneers out in the cold.