Education: Grinnell College, Bachelor of Arts; University of California, Berkeley, doctorate; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, postdoctoral research.
Place of employment: CU Boulder, distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry and molecular, cellular and developmental biology; CU BioFrontiers Institute, director; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, investigator.
Description of work that received the Nobel: Along with Sidney Altman and Thomas Cech, discovered that RNA in living cells is not only a molecule of heredity but also can function as a biocatalyst.
Impact of that work: This discovery, which came as a complete surprise to scientists, concerns fundamental aspects of the molecular basis of life. Many chapters in our textbooks had to be revised.
What do you think is the most important discovery ever made? Charles Darwin's natural selection.