#USI25 - Chatting with a Nobel Laureate
Institutional Communication Service
28 September 2021
A talk with Swiss Nobel Prize Laureate Jacques Dubochet was held on Monday, 27 September in the Aula magna of Lugano West Campus. The event was jointly organised by USI L'ideatorio, Società ticinese di scienze naturali (STSN) (Ticino Society of Natural Sciences), Liceo cantonale di Lugano (Lugano High School 1) and with the support of the Academy of Natural Sciences (SCNAT).
Conceived in October 1941 by optimistic parents, since 1946, he was no longer afraid of the dark because, as Copernicus explained, the Sun comes back. In 1955 he was the first official dyslexic in Canton Vaud, and this allowed him to fail pretty much everything but also to understand those who struggle. As a child in the Valais mountains, he used ropes, telescopes, pocket knives and matches to explore the world, so much so that his mother jokingly told him, "You will win the Nobel Prize one day." After his thesis in biophysics in Geneva and Basel, his research focused on electron microscopy (EM) applied to DNA that led him in the 70s to discover a fundamental phenomenon: the vitrification of water, or rather, as he says, the discovery of cold water. Very cold. Passionate about the relationship between science and society, he has always engaged in social issues. In 2017 he received a phone call from Stockholm to inform him that he has won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He worried because he would have to dress smartly. Too bad his mom could never know.
During the talk, Swiss Nobel Prize winner Jacques Dubochet, interviewed by Giovanni Pellegri, told his story, research and the role that science and scientists should have in our society.
The encounter was held in French.