Arthur Kornberg


Arthur Kornberg

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Arthur Kornberg
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, 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.

To cite this section
MLA style: Arthur Kornberg – Facts. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2023. Sat. 2 Dec 2023. <>

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