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Sir Richard Roberts, Nobel Laureate for Medicine

Special Feature Edition: 
Sir Richard Roberts, 
Nobel Laureate for Medicine, 1993.

Sir Richard John Roberts
is an English biochemist and molecular biologist. He was awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine with Phillip Allen Sharp for the discovery of introns in eukaryotic DNA and the mechanism of gene-splicing. Sir Richard is currently the Chief Scientific Officer of New England Biolabs, Distinguished Professor at Northeastern University, and Distinguished Scientist at Boston University.

Sir Richard Roberts was born in Derby, the son of Edna (Allsop) and John Roberts, an auto mechanic. When he was four, Roberts' family moved to Bath. In Bath, he attended City of Bath Boys' School As a child he at first wanted to be a detective and then, when given a chemistry set, a chemist.

He graduated from the University of Sheffield in 1965 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and a PhD in 1969. His thesis involved phytochemical studies of neoflavonoids and isoflavonoids.

After becoming a Nobel Laureate in 1993 he was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Science) by the University of Bath in 1994. In 2005, a multi-million pound expansion to the chemistry department at the University of Sheffield, where he had been a student, was named after him. A refurbished science department at Beechen Cliff School (previously City of Bath Boys' School) was also named after Roberts, who had donated a substantial sum of his Nobel prize winnings to the school.

Sir Richard Roberts was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto. He was knighted in the 2008 Birthday Honours. He is a member of the Advisory Board of Patient Innovation, a nonprofit, international, multilingual, free venue for patients and caregivers of any disease to share their innovations.

An autobiographical account of Sir Richard Robert's life can be found here, on the website of the Nobel Prize.