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Interesting Science Facts

Knighthood? I’ll Stick with the Nobels…

Dr Fred Sanger is the fourth, and only living, person to have won two Nobel Prizes. The first Nobel came from Sanger’s elucidation of the amino acid sequence of insulin in 1951. This discovery showed that proteins have a defined chemical composition as opposed to the amorphous composition that was commonly assumed at the time. The second prize came from his creation of the dideoxy chain termination, or “Sanger Method”, of DNA sequencing that was eventually used to sequence the human genome. In addition to the Nobel, Sanger was the recipient of many other prestigious awards for his groundbreaking work. However, one honor that the Englishman did refuse was knighthood, as the ever modest Sanger preferred not to be called ‘Sir’. “A knighthood makes you different, doesn’t it, and I don’t want to be different. But I did accept an Order of Merit, which is higher, so I suppose there’s a bit of snobbery there,” Sanger said.

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