Q & A from the 2023 WLA Prize Laureate in Life Science or Medicine--Timothy J. Richmond
Date: 2023-09-14
Source: WLA
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Picture credit to: ETH Zurich

(1) What were you doing when informed of winning the WLA Prize? Can you share your emotions upon receiving the notification from the Chair please? What thoughts or opinions do you have regarding the award please?
When I retired a few years ago, I decided to experience new adventures both outside of and within science. I left chromatin research behind, primarily because it requires substantial funding and a laboratory. When Prof. Schekman called to tell me that I had won the WLA Prize I was absolutely in my “outside” science mode. I was on the Pacific-side of Panama living on my boat and about to take my first surfing lesson! I’m surprised he found me, very happy he did, and even more amazed that I had won such a prestigious prize from an organization with such admirable goals. I spent much of my life elucidating the nucleosome structure in exquisite detail, and was delighted to hear that two of my companions in this quest were also being honored.


(2) We are delighted to know that you will attend the award ceremony and the 6th WLA Forum in Shanghai. What are your expectations for both the Ceremony and Forum? Additionally, do you have any particular anticipations regarding your travels to Shanghai?
I would like to attend the Ceremony and Forum with my wife, Dr. Ilme Schlichting.

You are also very much welcome to share some interesting stories about yourself, regarding your personal life or your research, etc. if you would like to.
I took up ocean sailing with my wife 10 years ago, and since my retirement spend about half my time on my boat in various countries. It’s great to have the opportunity to experience other cultures close at hand. Making ocean passages for weeks at a time is much like running a small lab, making certain the boat and crew is ready to go and that the voyages are well planned. Typically, there are boat and weather challenges that need to be solved and overcome while at sea.

During my time at home in Zürich, I currently enjoy studying quantum and neural-network computing and their applications. Notwithstanding the recent advances in protein-structure prediction, I continue to be interested in the physical basis of protein-folding.