Man in tie and suit in front of several old portraits.
Professor Heiner Linke, member of the Nobel Committee at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Credit: Ulla Engberg/Sveriges Radio

Nobel prize invention captures life "in atomic detail"

Nobel committee member: This helps us understand what amazing organisms we are
4:50 min

A "revolution in bio-chemistry" is predicted as a result of the new technique rewarded with this year's Nobel Prize in chemistry. Professor Heiner Linke explains what it is all about.

"The cryo-electron microscopy allows us to see, in atomic detail, down to the last atom, what molecules actually look like, when they are in their natural environment," said Heiner Linke, member of the Nobel Committee at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Detailed images of structures and processes on what is happening inside molecules are revolutionary when making new medicines, but also when it comes to better understanding how things work.

"Within months of even identifying the Zika virus, it was possible to understand in detail what it looks like, which, of course, is the key to any further development in terms of understanding how to treat it and prevent it," said Heiner Linke.

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