One More Nobel Connection for Chicago

Nobel laureates studied ribosomes at Argonne National Laboratory

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    The Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont. Argonne is one of the U.S. Department of Energy's largest research centers and the nation's first national laboratory, chartered in 1946.

    President Obama isn't the only Nobel laureate with a Chicago connection.

    The Nobel Prize in Chemistry would not have been possible without Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source in the Argonne National Laboratory, where Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas A. Steitz and Ada E. Yonath performed crucial research that led to their findings.

    The three scientists are credited for discovering the structure of the ribosome, which helps organisms translate DNA code into life.

    Situated in the southwestern Chicago suburb of Lemont, the APS was completed in 1996. The structure provides the brightest coherent x-ray beams in the Western Hemisphere. Before its construction, researchers could only work in Europe.

    As a result of their research, the three Nobel laureates produced more than 60 papers and documents explaining in detail why ribosomes are an essential component of life.

    The three scientists’ discoveries also led to modern antibiotics, which block the function of bacterial ribosomes.

    Other 2009 Nobel Prizes connected to Chicago include the Nobel Peace prize awarded to President Barack Obama and the Nobel Prize for Physics to George E. Smith, who earned a doctorate degree at the University of Chicago and made digital cameras’ electronic eye possible.