Sanger won the Nobel Prize in chemistry, twice. Once for developing a sequencing technique for proteins. A protein is a large structure that is made up of a long chain or chains of amino acids. He also invented a sequencing technique for DNA. DNA is a long strand of nitrogenous bases, and the order in which the bases are arranged gives rise to genes. Without these two methods, science as we know it would be totally stunted. If you’re curious about these techniques (I know you are) Go to the wiki on Sanger sequencing or protein sequencing.
After reading the article, Sanger seems like the man. Just an awesome dude who did some amazing work. He declined being knighted because he didn’t want to be called Sir. If that’s not the most badass move I don’t know what is.
“When the founding director of the institute, John Sulston, asked Dr Sanger if he was comfortable with the site being named after him, the response was: ‘It had better be good.'” Just gold. Pure quotable gold.
My two personal favorite quotes:
‘He worked until the age of 65 when he retired to spend more time gardening and “messing about in boats”.’ I think this needs no comment.
“Yet he was a disarmingly modest man, who once said: ‘I was just a chap who messed about in his lab’. I think that sums up how most scientists feel. However, he was not most scientists but in my opinion the father of genomics and modern day biology. So while you’re humming along today you can thank Fred Sanger for synthetic insulin, whey protein or any related genomics you might come across.
Have fun tinkering and messing about on boats Fred Sanger. I’ll see you on the other side.