It’s not often that you can say you have rubbed shoulders with a Nobel Prize-winning scientist but that is exactly what happened when more than a hundred students and staff attended a lecture by Sir Paul Nurse at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).
Sir Paul, who was jointly awarded a Nobel Prize in 2001 for his research into the discovery of molecules that regulate the cycle of a cell, is considered one of the world’s leading scientists and received a knighthood in 1999 for his contributions to cell biology and cancer research.
There was no doubt students were aware they were in the presence of research royalty and were transfixed as Sir Paul delivered a lecture called ‘Making Science Work’.
He also took the time to open a research laboratory in the Hawthorn Building, home to the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, where Filipe Ferreira, who is studying a Masters in Biological Sciences, and Raheema Sayani, who is studying a PhD looking at the removal of toxins from contaminated water using green technology, had the privilege of explaining their work to Sir Paul.
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Filipe said: “The lecture was inspirational, particularly because of the way he talked about creativity. He told us to not only focus on our skills as researchers but to look further for answers to problems.
“You tend to think of Sir Paul as a bit of a celebrity but he came across as a normal person – a normal person who is passionate about science.”
A full house at the Sir Paul Nurse lecture
Raheema said: “I feel really honoured to have met a science celebrity. I was inspired by him saying that you should not just stick to one field during research and you should go out into the world and speak to everyone. I never thought I would meet a Nobel Prize winner and feel privileged that he opened our lab. I was really happy to be a part of today.”
Sir Paul’s lecture asked how research can be made to promote the public good and he spoke passionately about the need for scientific researchers to enjoy absolute freedom to achieve their goals.
Raheema Sayani talks to Sir Paul Nurse about her research
Some of Sir Paul’s quotes from the lecture:
“Producing high quality research is tough. It is difficult to do. And we need to have a clear focus on excellence.”
“The work of science can require courage because sometimes it strikes at the heart of accepted thinking. Science can bring about revolutionary changes that can be unsettling for society.”
“To rush into translation may result in becoming lost in translation.”
“You need a commitment to a pursuit for truth. This is the high calling of academic activity. You also need honesty, transparency and courtesy.”
The plaque unveiled by Sir Paul Nurse
Posted on Thursday 7th December 2017