Venki Ramakrishnan: I think I got into ribosomes somewhat by accident, as is often the case in science.  I was a graduate student at UC San Diego.  I’d switched from physics to biology, and I came across an interesting article by two people at Yale.  I ended up writing to them, and they offered me a fellowship.  That’s how I got into it, but the reason I was interested in it was because it lies right at the crossroads of biology. If you think of biology, biology is essentially a sort of self-perpetuating system that carries information.  You have a cell.  The cell has information not only to make it work but to produce more cells.  That information resides in our genes.  But most of the molecules that carry out many of the functions of the cell — how it moves or even how it divides — are carried out by proteins, the thousands of proteins. Each protein is made by information in a gene, and a gene is a stretch of information along DNA.  The molecule that takes that genetic information and converts it to a protein is this enormous molecule called the ribosome.  And I had a physics training.  I was doing biology, and this seemed like a great problem to tackle because it was fundamentally important, but it was also enormous and challenging and required a lot of physical techniques.