How to Win a Nobel Prize and the Ethics of Winning a Nobel

George Pieczenik (Biochemistry and Microbiology)

The professor teaching this course worked with all the pioneering Nobel laureates of Molecular Biology. He published with Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, and Crick can trace his scholarly lineage back to Sir Lawrence Bragg, Nobel Prize winner for Physics (1915), who is responsible for the Bragg law of X-ray diffraction. He published with Sir Aaron Klug, who received the Nobel for optical diffraction and the structure of TMV and with Nobel laureate Sydney Brenner, who discovered mRNA. In this seminar, students will learn about the Bragg equation and simplify it so they can use it to decipher Photo 51. Students will measure parameters from Photo 51 and then re-derive the structure of DNA. An exciting hands-on component of the class will include a lab exercise where students use laser diffraction to determine helical molecular structure. Students will also learn the logic of how Fred Sanger, who received two Nobel prizes, created his RNA and DNA sequencing systems. This changed the whole landscape of science and medicine forever.

Course Number: 
11:090:101 section 26 index 13525