Ada Yonath was an Israeli crystallographer best known for her work pioneering the structure of the ribosome. An organism’s vital functions are managed by large complex protein molecules produced in cells’ ribosomes. Genetic information from messenger RNA is translated into chains of amino acids as they pass through the ribosome and form the foundation of proteins. In the 1970s Ada began a project that culminated in 2000 when she successfully mapped (together with other researchers) the structure of the ribosome, containing thousands of atoms, through X-ray crystallography. Her work has been crucial to the production of antibiotics among many other applications. Yonath won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009 for
her landmark work.