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As a young child, Prof. Ada Yonath lived in a four-room apartment that her family shared with another three families and their children. Hard conditions didn’t dampen her enormous curiosity, though. Already at five, she was actively investigating the world around her. She tried to measure the height of their tiny balcony using furniture from inside the apartment. She put a table on another table and then a chair and a stool on top, and when she climbed up on her structure, she fell and broke her arm. In this photo from her kindergarten class, Ada (standing, center) has her arm in a cast.
Aged 8, with her parents and baby sister
With her research team and Helen Kimmel (front, fourth from right)
It Takes a Research Team
On January 26, Prof. Yonath had a chance to celebrate with her research team. The group went to the Druze town of Daliyat al Carmel, near Haifa, for the day. There they received a tour and an explanation of the Druze faith, as well as lunch in one of the town’s fine restaurants
Meeting with Iranians
In November, just three weeks before the Nobel Prize award ceremony, Prof. Yonath had no time to even think about the upcoming event. She had flown from Boston to the European Synchrotron research facility in Grenoble, France, and then to Ben-Gurion Airport. From there, she flew to Amman, Jordan, where she immediately caught a taxi to the ancient city of Petra or, rather, to the modern hotel next door, for a conference. Though Yonath has had to turn down hundreds of requests for her time since the announcement, this was one she couldn’t say no to: a meeting of researchers working on the SESAME Middle Eastern synchrotron project, based in Jordan. The project, which will only be fully operational in 2013, brings structural biologists from the region, from Egypt to Iran, together to discuss their latest work. After Yonath’s lecture, she was surprised to find the Iranian delegation waiting for her, especially a headscarfed young researcher who only wanted a minute to hug Yonath and tell how much her life story meant to her, an Iranian woman.