Volume 61 of Biographical Memoirs contains 26 accounts of Fellows and Foreign Members who died recently. This is a greater number than has been the case for some years. Of the 26 memoirs, 20 come from the physical and engineering sciences and only 6 from the biomedical sciences, but one of the former group, Michael Fasham, is partly biological. However, the latter group includes two outstanding scientists and Nobel laureates. Fred Sanger, whose memoir was written by George Brownlee, was a committed molecular biologist who uniquely won the Nobel Prize twice, once in 1958 for protein sequencing and again in 1980 for the sequencing of nucleic acids. He stimulated our understanding of the chemistry of many proteins and enzymes and, moreover, his ingenious DNA sequencing method revolutionized molecular biology. Robert Edwards's memoir was written by Richard Gardner, who explains that Edwards was responsible for the most significant advance in the treatment of human fertility, the development of in vitro fertilization (IVF), for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2010. He persisted in his work in spite of vehement opposition from all quarters. However, the first of many IVF successes came in a live birth in 1978. Edwards was also noted for the diagnosis of genetic disease and the use of stem cells in regenerative medicine.
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Published by the Royal Society