Double Nobel laureate, Fred Sanger, has been remembered in Cambridge with the unveiling of a blue plaque on his former home at 252 Hills Road. Friends, family and colleagues attended the ceremony, organised by the Society of Biology, on Saturday 7th March.
One of the founders of the LMB, and former Head of the PNAC Division, Fred had lived at the Hills Road house for over 40 years: throughout his scientific career. He is the only scientist to have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry twice: in 1958 for his development of a technique to determine the order of amino acids in proteins, and in 1980 for developing a technique for the sequencing of nucleic acids in DNA. His technique for sequencing nucleic acids would shape the way that genomics and biomedicine were explored and was key to the Human Genome Project.
At the unveiling, Professor Julian Parkhill, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, spoke about the “beautiful, elegant techniques” that Fred had developed which are still in use over three decades later, and the impact that nucleic acid sequencing has had on areas such as human health, agriculture, industry and the environment.
Fred’s son, Robin Sanger, then talked about life at 252 Hills Road, in the house that provided a retreat for his father, where he enjoyed reading, gardening and woodwork and also relaxed with his family. Following the speeches, the plaque on the house was unveiled.
The Society of Biology installed the plaque as part of a new series of ten plaques around the UK celebrating the eminent but sometimes unsung heroes of biology. Part of the ‘Biology: Changing the World’ project, it celebrates our great heritage of scientific discovery.