Frederick Sanger, a celebrated British biochemist passed away, Tuesday. He was 95. Sanger became a Nobel laureate first in 1958 for his groundbreaking work that determined the structure of insulin and then in 1980 for his contributions on DNA sequencing. His researches did not just help mankind understand the blueprint of humans but sparked other great minds to take the same path to benefit everyone.
Sanger is considered as the father of genomics, a branch of molecular biology that studies the function, structure, mapping, and evolution of genomes of organisms. He is one of only four people in the world to win two Nobel Prizes.
The world of science paid rich tribute to Sanger, Wednesday, during a memorial in his honor.
"Fred was one of the outstanding scientists of the last century and it is simply impossible to overestimate the impact he has had on modern genetics and molecular biology. Moreover, by his modest manner and his quiet and determined way of carrying out experiments himself right to the end of his career, he was a superb role model and inspiration for young scientists everywhere," said fellow Nobel Laureate Venki Ramakrishnan.
Director of the Sanger Institute, Nobel laureate Sir John Sulston was also all praises for Sanger.
"He was really a hero of mine. He was the quiet scientist. He hated talking and he liked doing things. He was always involved in getting things done. He had a quiet modesty and although not a religious man he probably inherited something of his parents' Quaker traditions. He had a strong moral standing. He was a very upright man," said Sulston.
Sanger is considered as one of the greatests scientists of all time. He was born in Rendcombe, Gloucestershire on August 13, 1918 and studied at the Bryanston School in Dorset. Later, Sanger joined St. John's College in Cambridge where he took natural sciences.
Sanger received his first degree in 1939 - around the same time World War II began - and he opted to stay in the university to pursue an advanced degree in biochemistry. In 1940, he conducted research for the Department of Chemistry of Cambridge University. Sanger received the Corday-Morgan Medal and Prize from the Chemical Society in 1951.
Sanger's strings of achievements include the Royal Medal in 1969 and Copley Medal in 1977 from the Royal Society. He was also bestowed the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research and Gold Medal of Royal Society in 1979 and 1983, respectively. He became a fellow of the said society in 1954.
Sanger was nominated to knighthood but declined the position although he accepted the Order of Merit from Britain's Queen in 1986.
After his retirement in 1985, Sanger spent his retirement with his wife and time in the garden. He was married to Margaret Joan Howe and they had a daughter and two sons.