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Tsinghua University High School Senior One Student Zheng Wenhui Visits Ada Yonath, the Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry

Zheng Wenhui, from Tsinghua University High School, was selected as one of the five science little journalists by the Science News Agency of Beijing Sci-Tech Report to participate in the dialogue with the Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry- the Israeli chemist Ada Yonath.

On August 13th, the five little journalists came to the Beijing Conference Center to interview Ada Yonath, the Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry. On behalf of the middle school students in Beijing, they asked her some questions that middle school students were most interested in.

The teacher is explaining the key points of the interview

Ada Yonath

Ada Yonath, who was in her 80s, was still in high spirits, with silver-gray hair and in a black top, like a grandmother in a fairy tale. After greeting, she took out her glasses and said, “I had one of my glasses legs broken on the plane. Can you understand me?” Her words and smile enlivened the atmosphere at once.

As a scientist, Ada Yonath attached greater importance to research than to gender. When asked about her opinions on the phenomenon that fewer female scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, she shook her head, “I don't care much about the gender thing, I value the research itself more.” During the 20 years of research, Ada Yonath has been capable of freely switching the roles between family and scientific research, “My family is very supportive of my research, and I also love my family deeply, so there is no such a thing as finding the balance between family and scientific research as they are closely connected.”

The most important thing for doing research is curiosity. At the age of five, Ada Yonath used the furniture in the apartment to measure the height of the balcony. She was full of curiosity about everything around her. It was also because of curiosity and interest that Ada Yonath stuck unswervingly to her plan and made extraordinary achievements even though many scientists doubted or even mocked at her at first. She said: “Maintaining curiosity about everything around you forever will prompt you to persist. Don't always think about winning the Nobel Prize or other awards, which is not a good idea.” Perhaps it is this pure curiosity that has supported her to maintain her love for science and chemistry under harsh conditions, focus on her own research, and ultimately succeed.

At the end of the interview, when the little journalists asked Ada Yonath to say something to the middle school students, she said with a smile: “There is no suggestion, just do what you like and delve into it!” Perhaps this is the best advice. Simple as it is, it tells the most essential and important thing - “love”. Only if you are enthusiastic about what you are doing will you go further in the research and be able to withstand the loneliness of the journey.

Ada Yonath interviewed by Zheng Wenhui

This activity provided the middle school students with a chance to meet a Nobel Prize winner face to face, which stimulated their interest in doing research and answered their confusions. From the conversation, they deeply felt a scientist’s love and perseverance in research.

The photo of Yonath and five little journalists

Text and Photo: Zheng Wenhui
Review: Wang Tian, Tan Hongzheng
Translate: Jiang Yuwei
Proofread: Cheng Weihang
Edit: Administrative Management Center