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Science and SocietyHeidelberg Forum

Paul Nurse

Paul Nurse

Tuesday, 8 November 2011 at 18:00 in the Print Media Academy 
Kurfürstenanlage 52-60, Heidelberg

Mit freundlicher Unterstützung der Manfred Lautenschläger Stiftung

President of the Royal Society, Francis Crick Institute, UK

Great Ideas of Biology


Three of the great ideas of biology are the gene theory, the theory of evolution by natural selection, and the proposal that the cell is the fundamental unit of all life. When considering the question of what is life these ideas come together, because the special way cells reproduce provides the conditions by which natural selection takes place allowing living organisms to evolve. A fourth idea is that the organisation of chemistry within the cell provides explanations for life’s phenomena. A new idea is the central role that information management plays in generating biological organisation.


Paul Nurse is a geneticist and cell biologist who has worked on how the eukaryotic cell cycle is controlled and how cell shape and cell dimensions are determined. His major work has been on the cyclin dependent protein kinases and how they regulate cell reproduction. He is President of the Royal Society and Director of the UKCMRI in London and has served as Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK and President of Rockefeller University. He shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and has received the Albert Lasker Award and the Royal Society’s Royal and Copley Medals. He was knighted in 1999 and received the Legion d’Honneur in 2003.