Famous 21st Century Biologists

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 1 
Richard Dawkins
(British Evolutionary Biologist Who Contends that a Supernatural Creator Almost Certainly Does Not Exist)
Richard Dawkins
14
Birthdate: March 26, 1941
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Nairobi, Kenya

Richard Dawkins is a British ethologist, author, and evolutionary biologist. He first achieved popularity after publishing his book, The Selfish Gene, which is credited with popularizing the gene selection theory. The book is also credited with introducing the term meme. In 2006, he established the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science to promote secularism and scientific literacy.

 2 
E. O. Wilson
(Biologist)
E. O. Wilson
8
Birthdate: June 10, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Died: December 26, 2021

E. O. Wilson is an American naturalist, biologist, and writer. An influential biologist, Wilson has earned several nicknames, such as The Darwin of the 21st century. He has also been referred to as the father of biodiversity and the father of sociobiology. In 1995, he was ranked among the most influential American personalities by Time magazine.

 3 
David Attenborough
(English Broadcaster, Biologist and Natural Historian)
David Attenborough
4
Birthdate: May 8, 1926
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Isleworth, England

Widely regarded as a national treasure in the United Kingdom, Sir David Attenborough is the only person to have received BAFTAs for TV shows meant for different television sets, such as black and white, color, 3D, HD, and 4K. In 2002, he was mentioned in BBC's 100 Greatest Britons list.

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 4 
Juliane Koepcke
(Lone Survivor of 1971 LANSA Plane Crash)
Juliane Koepcke
8
Birthdate: October 10, 1954
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lima, Peru
Juliane Koepcke is a German Peruvian mammalogist. She is well-known for being the only survivor of the Líneas Aéreas Nacionales S.A. Flight 508 plane crash; she survived ten days in the Amazon rainforest after surviving a fall of 9843 feet while strapped to her airplane seat. Her story inspired films like Miracles Still Happen (1974) and Wings of Hope (1998).
 5 
Jeremy Wade
(Television presenter, Writer)
Jeremy Wade
6
Birthdate: March 23, 1956
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ipswich, Suffolk, England

Jeremy Wade is a British TV presenter, biologist, and freshwater detective. He is best known for his TV series River Monsters, Mighty Rivers, and Dark Waters. He attended the University of Kent and began his career as a biology teacher. He made his TV debut by chance and didn’t take long to become a popular TV presenter. 

 6 
Craig Venter
(Biotechnologist known for leading the first draft sequence of the human genomeand assembled the first team to transfect a cell with a synthetic chromosome)
Craig Venter
6
Birthdate: October 14, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Craig Venter biotechnologist and businessman best known for leading the first draft sequence of the human genome. He is the founder of Celera Genomics and the Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) and the co-founder of Human Longevity Inc.  He received the Dan David Prize for his contribution to genome research and is a member of the American Philosophical Society. 

 7 
Nell Newman
(Former Child Actress and Founder of ‘Newman’s Own Organics')
Nell Newman
8
Birthdate: April 8, 1959
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York, United States

Nell Newman is a biologist, environmentalist, and former child actress. An ardent supporter of sustainable agriculture, Newman is credited with founding a pet food and organic food production company called Newman's Own. For her environmental leadership, Newman was honored with the Rachel Carson Award in 2014. In 2017, she was made an inductee of the Specialty Food Hall of Fame.

 8 
Kathleen Rubins
(Astronaut, Biologist)
Kathleen Rubins
6
Birthdate: October 14, 1978
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Farmington

Kathleen Rubins is a microbiologist and NASA astronaut. In 2016, she became the 60th woman to fly in space when she launched on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. She traveled to the International Space Station and returned to Earth after a few months. She has spent a total of 300 days, 1 hour, and 31 minutes in space. 

 9 
James Lovelock
(Biologist, Chemist, University teacher, Mythographer)
James Lovelock
6
Birthdate: July 26, 1919
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Letchworth

Renowned James Lovelock is best known for propagating the Gaia hypothesis, which states that every living being on planet Earth is part of a single self-regulating superorganism. He is also known for his long association with NIMR, London, and Harvard University and has over 50 patents under his name.

 10 
Aubrey de Grey
(Biologist)
Aubrey de Grey
10
Birthdate: April 20, 1963
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London
 11 
Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard
(German Developmental Biologist and Winner of 1995 Nobel Prize in Medicine)
Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard
6
Birthdate: October 20, 1942
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Magdeburg, Germany

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard is a German developmental biologist. She studied at the University of Tübingen where she earned a Ph.D. for her research on protein–DNA interactions. Together with biologist Eric Wieschaus and geneticist Edward B. Lewis, she received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1995. She is also a recipient of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize. 

 12 
Paul Stamets
(Mycologist)
Paul Stamets
6
Birthdate: July 17, 1955
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Columbiana, Ohio, United States

Paul Stamets is an American entrepreneur and mycologist. An ardent supporter of mycoremediation and medicinal fungi, Stamets sells various mushroom products. In 2014, he was honored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science with an Invention Ambassador award. In 2019, he contributed immensely to the creation of a documentary film titled Fantastic Fungi.

 13 
Rupert Sheldrake
(English Author Best Known For His Research in Parapsychology)
Rupert Sheldrake
4
Birthdate: June 28, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, England

Rupert Sheldrake is an English author best known for his research in the field of parapsychology. He is credited with proposing the concept of morphic resonance, which has been categorized as pseudoscience by mainstream scientists. Rupert Sheldrake is also known for his work encompassing paranormal subjects like telepathy, precognition, and the psychic staring effect.

 14 
Elizabeth Blackburn
(Biological Researcher and Winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine)
Elizabeth Blackburn
7
Birthdate: November 26, 1948
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hobart, Australia

Nobel Prize-winning Australian-American biochemist and molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn is best known for co-discovering the enzyme telomerase. She was allegedly removed from the American President's Council on Bioethics over her support for stem cell research, which went against the government. She has honorary doctorate degrees from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.

 15 
Bruce Lipton
(American Developmental Biologist)
Bruce Lipton
6
Birthdate: October 21, 1944
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mount Kisco, New York, United States

Bruce Lipton is a developmental biologist. He is best known as the author of the book The Biology of Belief, in which he claims that beliefs control human biology rather than DNA and inheritance. He earned a Ph.D. in developmental biology from the University of Virginia and began his academic career. He received the 2009 Goi Peace Award. 

 16 
Pierre Joliot
(French Biologist)
Pierre Joliot
5
Birthdate: March 12, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France

Pierre Joliot is a French biologist best known for his research work at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). From 1985 to 1986, he served as the scientific advisor to the then prime minister of France.

 17 
Anne McLaren
(Geneticist)
Anne McLaren
3
Birthdate: April 26, 1927
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: July 7, 2007

Geneticist Anne McLaren is remembered for her pioneering research in embryology that paved the way for further research in fertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilization. The Royal Society fellow had also appeared as a child actor in the film adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel Things to Come.

 18 
David Baltimore
(Virologist)
David Baltimore
5
Birthdate: March 7, 1938
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

David Baltimore is an American university administrator and biologist. He is currently serving as President Emeritus at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He won the 1975 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries concerning the interaction between the genetic material of the cell and tumor viruses. In 1999, he was honored with the National Medal of Science. 

 19 
Shinya Yamanaka
(Nobel Prize-Winning Japanese Scientist Who Is Known for his Work on Stem Cell Research)
Shinya Yamanaka
5
Birthdate: September 4, 1962
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Osaka

Nobel Prize-winning Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka is known for his contribution to stem cell research. He developed the induced pluripotent stem cell, a stem cell that can be created directly from a somatic cell. He is a professor at Kyoto University’s Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences and has held several senior research positions.

 20 
Siddhartha Mukherjee
(Physician, Biologist and Author of 2010 Book 'The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer')
Siddhartha Mukherjee
5
Birthdate: July 21, 1970
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New Delhi, India

Best known as the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Emperor of All Maladies and the New York Times bestseller The Gene, Siddhartha Mukherjee is an Indian-American oncologist and a Columbia University professor. He is also a former Rhodes scholar, a Padma Shri winner, and a Stanford alumnus.

 21 
Sydney Brenner
(Biologist)
Sydney Brenner
5
Birthdate: January 13, 1927
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Germiston, Transvaal, Union of South Africa
Died: April 5, 2019

Sydney Brenner was a South African biologist who made important contributions to various areas of molecular biology, including the genetic code. Brenner shared the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Sir John E. Sulston and H. Robert Horvitz. Sydney Brenner is credited with founding the Molecular Sciences Institute, which is situated in the United States of America.

 22 
Jeff Corwin
(biologist, television presenter, actor)
Jeff Corwin
4
Birthdate: July 11, 1967
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Norwell

Jeff Corwin is a biologist and wildlife conservationist. He is most popular for hosting TV shows on nature, such as Disney Channel's Going Wild With Jeff Corwin and The Jeff Corwin Experience on Animal Planet. He studied at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has been involved in conservation since his student days and lectures on wildlife, ecology, and conservation. 

 23 
Paul R. Ehrlich
(Entomologist, Zoologist, University teacher)
Paul R. Ehrlich
3
Birthdate: May 29, 1932
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Philadelphia

Paul R. Ehrlich is a biologist best known for the 1968 book The Population Bomb, which he co-authored with his wife, Anne. He kindled controversy for his views on the consequences of population growth in a world with limited resources. He has been called an "irrepressible doomster” by his critics, while his supporters credit him for spreading concern about overpopulation. 

 24 
Yoshinori Ohsumi
(Nobel Prize-Winning Japanese Cell Biologist Known for His Work on Autophagy)
Yoshinori Ohsumi
4
Birthdate: February 9, 1945
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Fukuoka, Japan

Nobel Prize-winning Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi is best known for his research on autophagy. A Rockefeller University alumnus, he now teaches at Tokyo Tech’s Institute of Innovative Research. He is also known for his pathbreaking contribution to topics such as the DNA, cell, and embryo.

 25 
Michael Levitt
(Physicist, Biologist, Bioinformatician, Chemist, Scientist, Educationist, University teacher)
Michael Levitt
3
Birthdate: May 9, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pretoria

Michael Levitt is a biophysicist who has been serving as a Stanford University professor of structural biology since 1987. Along with Arieh Warshel and Martin Karplus, Levitt received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2013. He has also received several other awards, including the DeLano Award for Computational Biosciences and was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences in 2002.

 26 
Andrew Baldwin
(Reality star, naval officer and athlete most famous as the star of the reality show "The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentleman.")
Andrew Baldwin
3
Birthdate: February 5, 1977
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States

Although best known for his appearances on the ABC reality dating show The Bachelor, Andrew James Baldwin is much more than just a television personality. A Medical Officer with US Navy, he is known for his humanitarian works and enthusiasm for triathlon, being named to the All-Navy triathlon team five times, besides competing internationally in numerous Half-Ironman and Ironman events.

 27 
Yuan Longping
(Biologist, Engineer, Inventor)
Yuan Longping
3
Birthdate: September 7, 1930
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Beijing
 28 
Keith L. Moore
(Biologist)
Keith L. Moore
3
Birthdate: October 5, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brantford, Canada
Died: December 6, 2019

A legend of anatomy, Keith L. Moore was also one of the founders of the American Association of Clinical Anatomists. The author of books such as Before We Are Born, Moore was also known for his study on the scientific accuracy of statements related to embryology mentioned in the Quran.

 29 
Linda B. Buck
(American biologist)
Linda B. Buck
2
Birthdate: January 29, 1947
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Seattle

Linda B. Buck is an American biologist who received the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her work on olfactory receptors; she shared the award with molecular biologist Richard Axel. An important and influential biologist, Linda has also won several other awards, such as the Takasago Award, Unilever Science Award, Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award, and R.H. Wright Award.

 30 
Tim Flannery
(Biologist, Paleontologist, Zoologist, Environmentalist)
Tim Flannery
3
Birthdate: January 28, 1956
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Melbourne

Tim Flannery is an Australian paleontologist, mammalogist, environmentalist, explorer, conservationist, and public scientist. Tim Flannery is credited with discovering over 30 mammal species. He is also credited with co-founding Climate Council, a non-profit organization that aims at providing accurate information on climate change to the Australian public. In 2007, Tim Flannery was named Australian of the Year.

 31 
PZ Myers
(Biologist, Zoologist, Blogger, University teacher)
PZ Myers
3
Birthdate: March 9, 1957
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kent

PZ Myers is a biologist known for founding the Pharyngula science blog. His blog is one of the top-ranked blogs by a scientist. A "science geek" from an early age, he obtained a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Oregon. As an academician, he has taught at the University of Oregon, the University of Utah, and Temple University.  

 32 
Tomas Lindahl
(Swedish-British Scientist Specialising in Cancer Research)
Tomas Lindahl
3
Birthdate: January 28, 1938
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden

Tomas Lindahl is a Swedish-British scientist who specializes in cancer research. He is best known as the winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which he received alongside Turkish chemist Aziz Sancar and American chemist Paul L. Modrich. Over the years, Tomas Lindahl has also been honored with other prestigious awards such as the Royal Medal and Copley Medal.

 33 
Harold E. Varmus
(American Scientist Who Won Nobel Prize in Medicine for Discovery of the Cellular Origin of Retroviral Oncogenes)
Harold E. Varmus
3
Birthdate: December 18, 1939
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Oceanside, New York, United States

Harold E. Varmus is an American scientist who shared the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with J. Michael Bishop for their discovery of the retroviral oncogenes' cellular origin. From 1993 to 1999, he served as the director of the National Institutes of Health. From 2010 to 2015, he served as the director of the National Cancer Institute.

 34 
Carol W. Greider
(Biologist, Molecular biologist, Geneticist, Physician)
Carol W. Greider
3
Birthdate: April 15, 1961
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Davis

Carol W. Greider is a molecular biologist who discovered the enzyme telomerase in 1984. Her discovery was honored several years later when she received the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, along with Blackburn and Jack W. Szostak for their work on telomeres.  The trio also shared the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research for the same work.  

 35 
Bill Mollison
(scientist, naturalist, psychologist)
Bill Mollison
3
Birthdate: May 4, 1928
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Stanley
Died: September 24, 2016

Known for co-developing the concept of a sustainable form of agriculture called the permaculture, Bill Mollison was one of the most influential ecological pioneers, authors, and teachers. Also the founder of The Permaculture Institute (Tasmania) and co-publisher of a book called Permaculture One, he is credited with training thousands of people the art of growing food without harming the nature.  

 36 
Susumu Tonegawa
(Recipent of Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1987 for his Discovery of V(D)J Recombination)
Susumu Tonegawa
2
Birthdate: September 5, 1939
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nagoya, Aichi, Japan

Susumu Tonegawa is a Japanese scientist known for his discovery of the genetic mechanism that produces antibody diversity. For this work, he received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1987. Even though he won the coveted award for his work in immunology, he is a molecular biologist by training. He now studies neuroscience. 

 37 
Massimo Pigliucci
(Biologist, Philosopher, Geneticist, Writer, University teacher)
Massimo Pigliucci
3
Birthdate: January 16, 1964
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Monrovia

Massimo Pigliucci is an academician currently serving as a professor of philosophy at the City College of New York. A staunch critic of pseudoscience and creationism, he advocates for secularism and science education. He was once the co-host of the Rationally Speaking Podcast. He often writes on topics, such as climate change denial, pseudoscience, intelligent design, and philosophy. 

 38 
Jeffrey C. Hall
(American Geneticist and Chronobiologist Known for His Discovery of Molecular Mechanisms Controlling the 'Circadian Rhythm')
Jeffrey C. Hall
3
Birthdate: May 3, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

Jeffrey C. Hall is an American chronobiologist and geneticist, currently serving as Brandeis University's Professor Emeritus of Biology. He is credited with conducting extensive research on the behavior and neurology of Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly), which revealed certain mechanisms of the circadian clocks. He received the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Michael Rosbash and Michael Young.

 39 
Ian Wilmut
(British Embryologist Known for Creating a Cloned Sheep Named 'Dolly' From an Adult Sheep’s Somatic Cell)
Ian Wilmut
2
Birthdate: July 7, 1944
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hampton Lucy, England

British biologist Ian Wilmut revolutionized embryology by leading the team of researchers who successfully created the first cloned mammal, the sheep named Dolly. A leading proponent of cryopreservation, he also implanted the first calf embryo, Frostie, in a surrogate cow. He was later knighted for his achievements.

 40 
Robert Trivers
(Psychologist, University teacher)
Robert Trivers
2
Birthdate: February 19, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

Robert Trivers is an American sociobiologist and evolutionary biologist. He is often counted among the most influential and important evolutionary theorists alive. Trivers' fundamental analysis of social evolution earned him the Crafoord Prize in Biosciences. A former faculty member of Harvard University and the University of California, Santa Cruz, Trivers is currently serving as a faculty member at Rutgers University.

 41 
Jack W. Szostak
(Geneticist - Winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine)
Jack W. Szostak
3
Birthdate: November 9, 1952
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England

Nobel Prize-winning Canadian-American biochemist and geneticist Jack W. Szostak revolutionized medical science with his research on the manipulation of genes. The Cornell alumnus is credited with creating the first yeast artificial chromosome. He has also taught at the Harvard Medical School. In spite of being Polish, he doesn’t speak the language.

 42 
Gerald Edelman
(American Biologist Who Won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for His Work in the Immune System)
Gerald Edelman
2
Birthdate: July 1, 1929
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ozone Park, New York, United States
Died: May 17, 2014

Gerald Edelman was an American biologist best remembered for winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1972 for his work on the immune system; he shared the award with Rodney Robert Porter. Gerald Edelman is also credited with founding a nonprofit research center named The Neurosciences Institute, where he served as the director.

 43 
Michael W. Young
(American Biologist, Geneticist and Winner of 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine)
Michael W. Young
3
Birthdate: March 28, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Miami, Florida, United States

Michael W. Young is a biologist and geneticist. He has spent several years studying genetically controlled patterns of sleep and wakefulness within the fly species Drosophila melanogaster. Along with Jeffrey C. Hall and Michael Rosbash, he was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. His wife, Laurel Eckhardt, is also a biologist and the couple often collaborates professionally. 

 44 
Barry Commoner
(American Cellular Biologist and Ecologist Who's Research Led to the 'Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963')
Barry Commoner
3
Birthdate: May 28, 1917
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: September 30, 2012

Barry Commoner was a cellular biologist. A leading ecologist of his era, he was one of the founders of the modern environmental movement. He opposed nuclear weapons testing and helped bring about the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963. He was a recipient of the 1970 International Humanist Award. As a political activist, he founded the Citizens Party in 1980.  

 45 
John Gurdon
(Biologist)
John Gurdon
3
Birthdate: October 2, 1933
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dippenhall, England
 46 
Richard Evans Schultes
3
Birthdate: January 12, 1915
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: April 10, 2001

Richard Evans Schultes was a biologist con whoducted numerous studies on the uses of plants by indigenous peoples and is considered the father of modern ethnobotany. In collaboration with chemists, he worked on entheogenic or hallucinogenic plants found in the Amazon jungle. He was one of the first Westerners to alert the world about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. 

 47 
Donald Kennedy
(Scientist)
Donald Kennedy
2
Birthdate: August 18, 1931
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: April 21, 2020

Former Stanford University president and renowned neurobiologist Donald Kennedy had also been the chief editor of Science and the FDA commissioner. He is best remembered for his research on motor activity and the central nervous system, and his memoir, A Place in the Sun. He died of COVID-19 at age 88.

 48 
Christian de Duve
(Belgian Biochemist Who Discovered Two Cell Organelles, 'Peroxisome' and 'Lysosome')
Christian de Duve
2
Birthdate: October 2, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Thames Ditton, England
Died: May 4, 2013

Christian de Duve was an English-born Belgian cytologist and biochemist. For his discoveries of two cell organelles, peroxisome and lysosome, he shared the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Albert Claude and George E. Palade. He was the founder of the International Institute of Cellular and Molecular Pathology in Brussels, which was later renamed in his honor. 

 49 
Francisco J. Ayala
(Biologist, Geneticist, Philosopher, University teacher)
Francisco J. Ayala
2
Birthdate: March 12, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Madrid

Francisco J. Ayala is a Spanish-born American evolutionary geneticist and molecular biologist, best known for his investigation on the process of genetic variation and natural selection at molecular level. He also undertook research on public health, providing new ideas on the prevention and treatment of diseases and expounded how Darwin’s theory of evolution is well-matched to religious theory of creation.  

 50 
Sidney Altman
(Molecular Biologist)
Sidney Altman
2
Birthdate: May 7, 1939
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Known for his independent work on ribonucleic acid (RNA), molecular biologist Sidney Altman co-won the 1989 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering that RNA, which was thought to be a passive carrier of genetic codes, is also capable of taking up active enzymatic functions. The discovery is significant in that it forced scientists to reexamine traditional theories on cellular functions.