The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1959
Born: 3 March 1918, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Died: 26 October 2007, Stanford, CA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
Prize motivation: "for their discovery of the mechanisms in the biological synthesis of ribonucleic acid and deoxyribonucleic acid."
Prize share: 1/2
The substances known as DNA and RNA bear organisms' genetic code and also determine their vital processes. Arthur Kornberg took an interest in the way DNA and RNA are formed, and which enzymes steer this process. Enzymes are substances that speed up chemical processes inside organisms' cells without being consumed. By studying bacteria, Arthur Kornberg succeeded in isolating DNA polymerase in 1956 - an enzyme that is active in the formation of DNA. Using a DNA molecule as a blueprint, the enzyme builds a copy of the DNA molecule from nucleotides, which are the building blocks of DNA.
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.