Today would have been the 97th birthday of Fred Sanger, double Nobel Prize winner and inventor of DNA sequencing. As her new online exhibition about Sanger’s life and work launches, Dr Lara Marks of the Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine at King’s College London, looks back on his path to the development of DNA sequencing and its application in medicine.
This picture, taken in 1934, shows a 16-year-old Sanger almost slap-bang in the middle of a group of boys at Bryanston School, a private school for boys in Dorset. Reflecting his smallness in the photo, Sanger was nicknamed ‘Mouse’ at school, perhaps due to a combination of his size and relative shyness.
Behind Fred’s left shoulder is his brother Theo. It was Theo’s passion and explorations of nature in the family garden that helped awaken Sanger’s interest in science.
Another significant member of the party, in the middle of the front row, is Fred’s chemistry and house master Henry Geoffrey Ordish. Having studied chemistry at Cambridge University and pursued research at the Cavendish Laboratory, Ordish was a powerful influence on Sanger and his decision to pursue a scientific career. Read more