William H. Stein
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1972
Born: 25 June 1911, New York, NY, USA
Died: 2 February 1980, 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. William Stein and Stanford Moore 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.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.