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16 July 2012

Sir John Walker awarded Copley Medal

The Royal Society, the UK's national academy of science, announced that Biochemical Society Honorary Member Professor Sir John Walker FRS has been awarded the Copley Medal, which is believed to be the world's oldest scientific prize.

Sir John receives the medal for his ground-breaking work in understanding what powers living cells.
The Copley medal was first awarded by the Royal Society in 1731, 170 years before the first Nobel Prize. It is awarded for outstanding achievements in scientific research and has been awarded to such eminent scientists as Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.
Sir John's work concentrates on an enzyme (ATP synthase) which sits in the inner membranes of the mitochondrion where it uses the transmembrane protonmotive force (pmf) generated by the oxidation of nutrients as a source of energy for making ATP. The pmf across the inner membrane of the mitochondrion is coupled to the chemical synthesis of ATP from the molecule ADP and phosphate by a mechanical rotary mechanism. During ATP synthesis, the central rotor turns about 150 times every second. In order to provide energy to sustain our lives, every day, each one of us produces a quantity of ATP by this mechanism that is approximately equal to our body weights.
Of his award, Professor Sir John Walker FRS said: "I am greatly honoured by the award of such a prestigious prize. An accolade from fellow scientists is especially to be treasured."

Further information can be found on the Royal Society website.



 
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