Cambridge Society of Paris News Bulletin 9

A glorious launch to the Cambridge Cutting Edge Lectures

Today, Thursday 7th March, the first of the Cambridge Cutting Edge Lectures was held, at the prestigious Institut Pasteur in Paris. 

With an audience of well over 200, the large amphitheatre at the Institut Pasteur was full to overflowing. Not surprising given the immense good fortune of having a Nobel Prize winner, President of the Royal Society, Venki Ramakrishnan as our first speaker. 

Venki’s career has been dedicated to the discovery of the form and function of ribosomes, the million atom molecules that provide the interface between DNA based genes and the proteins forming every cell in every form of life on earth. 

His talk, describing his struggle in the race to decipher the secrets of the ribosome was not only a voyage at the pinnacle of modern science, but also a very human saga showing how modern science really works. The competition, the ambition, the goals, and integrity. The anxiety and need for self-belief, with occasional strokes of extraordinary good fortune, or the reverse. 

We were hugely privileged to be given these insights by one of the greatest living scientists, and all this from the little acorn, the conversation over lunch between myself and Moez Draief, that first gave birth to the Cambridge Cutting Edge Lectures.  

We could not have hoped for a better launch and immense thanks are due to Venki Ramakrishnan for accepting our invitation, to Terry Quinn for having proffered the invitation, and the Institut Pasteur for their wonderful amphitheatre and for hosting us in such splendid style. 

The next Cambridge Cutting Edge Lecture will be delivered by Professor Sir Roger Penrose on Thursday 24th October and, before that, on Thursday 16th May we have the start of the Glory Days of Paris series, commencing with The Pilgrims of Babylon, the revolutionary Artists of Montmartre. 

With very best wishes, 

Andrew Lyndon-Skeggs 

President, Cambridge Society of Paris 

Thursday 7th March 2019