Physiology/Medicine: Marshall W. Nirenberg 1968 - Seattle, WA
Posted by: Metro2
N 47° 37.125 W 122° 21.088
10T E 548732 N 5274131
Quick Description: This Memorial honors Marshall W. Nirenberg and is one of several at Seattle's Pacific Science Center's exhibit on genetics and the prominent scientists in this field.
Location: Washington, United States
Date Posted: 7/14/2011 8:56:28 AM
Waymark Code: WMC1F3
Located in the Pacific Science Museum, this Memorial is on a wall with about a dozen other similar ones honoring noted scientists in the field of genetics.
Along with photos of Nirenberg, the text of the Memorial reads:
"Marshall W. Nirenberg
Born: New York, New York
April 10, 1927
B.S., University of Florida, 1948
M.S., University of Florida, 1952
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1957
Nobel Prize in Physiology
or Medicine, 1968
Marshall Nirenberg's interest in bird-watching led him to the science of biology. He earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he continued for a master's degree in zoologoy. While at the University of Florida, Nirenberg became interested in biochemistry and studied the subject to earn a Ph.D. at
the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
After a two-year postdoctoral fellowship with the American Cancer Society, Nirenberg accepted a position in 1960 as a research biochemist in the Section of Metabolic Enzymes at the National Institutes of Health. He had already begun work on the steps relating DNA. RNA and proteins. In 1961, Nirenberg and J.H. Matthaei published a landmark paper detailing the discovery of the first piece of the gentic code. Nirenberg and Matthaei showed that messenger RNA carries the code for protein synthesis, and that the code could be deciphered using pieces of synthetic RNA.
In subsequent years, Nirenberg and his group deciphered the entire genetic code by matching amino acids to synthetic three-base "words", or codons, of messenger RNA. They found that some codons are "punctuation marks", and that the code is redundant with multiple codons corresponding to the same amino acid.
For his work in cracking the genetic code, Marshall Nirenberg shared the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with H. Gobind Khorana and Robert Holley.
"America has been saying that my work may result in:
1. the cure for cancer and allied diseases
2. the cure for cancer and the end of mankind and
3. a better knowledge of the molecular structure of God.
Well, it's all in a day's work."
-Nirenberg in 1962, in half-joking remark to francis Crick"
Field of Accomplishment: Physiology/Medicine
Year of Award: 1968
Primary Relevant Web Site: [Web Link]
Secondary Relevant Web Site: [Web Link]
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