The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1972
Born: 4 September 1913, Chicago, IL, USA
Died: 23 August 1982, New York, NY, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA
Prize motivation: “for their contribution to the understanding of the connection between chemical structure and catalytic activity of the active centre of the ribonuclease molecule”
Prize share: 1/4
The genetic information of an organism is stored in DNA molecules which, via RNA molecules, are converted during the formation of proteins. The chemical processes inside cells are controlled by a type of protein called enzymes. Stanford Moore and William Stein studied the enzyme ribonuclease, which divides RNA into smaller components. In the late 1950s, the pair succeeded in providing a detailed understanding of the enzyme's active center and in elucidating the connection between the structure of the molecule and its ability to speed up biochemical reactions.