The Biology Department is proud to host the Alexander Rich Lectureship in honor of the late Alexander Rich, who passed away on April 27, 2015.
Alexander Rich was the William Thompson Sedgwick Professor of Biophysics at MIT, where he had been since 1958. His work was largely focused on the molecular structure and the biological function of the nucleic acids, but with some additional emphasis on protein structure. Dr. Rich solved the structure of many biological molecules which were difficult to crystallize, including transfer RNA, double-stranded RNA and RNA pseudoknots, and left-handed DNA. He was the author of over 550 papers.
Dr. Rich was a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1970. Prof. Rich was active on many government and academic advisory committees and boards, including the National Science Board and the governing board of the National Research Council.
Prof. Rich was awarded Honorary Doctor of Science degrees from several universities, including the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, Zurich; Freie University, Berlin; and the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.
He was a member of the Institute of Medicine, Washington; the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; the American Philosophical Society; and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Rome.
The honors Prof. Rich had received throught his lifetime for his many contributions included the Rosenstiel Award in Basic Biomedical Research, the Theodore von Karmen Award for the Viking Mars Mission, NASA’s Skylab Achievement Award, the James R. Killian Faculty Achievement Award at MIT, and the Linus Pauling Medal of the American Chemical Society. In 1995, he received the U.S. National Medal of Science, and in 2002, the highest award of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Lomonosov Gold Medal).
2015: Dr. Martin Karplus, Harvard University
2014: Dr. Sung-Hu Kim, University of California at Berkeley
2013: Dr. Martin Egli
2012: Dr. Ada Yonath, The Weizmann Institute of Science
2011: Dr. Alexander Varshavsky, Caltech
2010: Dr. Ned Seeman, New York University
2009: Dr. Gregory Petsko, Brandeis University
2008: Dr. Paul Schimmel, The Scripps Research Institute
2007: Dr. Robert Langer, MIT
2006: Dr. Alexander Rich, MIT (The Inaugural Lecture)