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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Crash Course In Biology From Eric Lander

MIT geneticist and Obama science advisor Eric Lander is pictured at Here & Now's home station WBUR. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

MIT geneticist and Obama science advisor Eric Lander is pictured at Here & Now’s home station WBUR. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Scientist Eric Lander was named today as one of the winners of the new Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the world’s richest academic prize for medicine and biology.

The prize was established by four Internet entrepreneurs, including Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

It awards $3 million – twice the amount of the Nobel Prize – to scientists “who think big, take risks and have made a significant impact on our lives.”

Lander was one of the leaders of the Human Genome Project, the effort to map the entire human genetic code.

He went on to found the Broad Institute biomedical and genomic research center often described as “Disneyland, a playground for scientists.”

Lander also advises President Barack Obama, who named Lander when asked for his favorite scientist or mathematician.

Lander gave Here & Now’s Robin Young a crash version of his Introduction to Biology class, saying he hated biology when he took it in high school.

What Lander tries to do is teach the story of the greatest scientific revolution of the last century, and put the details on the context of that story.

The class, “Introduction to Biology – The Secret of Life,” will be available free online via edX starting March 5th.

Eric Lander at The Moth: “Why I Teach”


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