For our immediate family and relatives, Canada was a land of opportunity.
About seven years later I was given a book about the periodic table of the elements. For the first time I saw the elegance of scientific theory and its predictive power.
It was from them that I learned that hard work in stable surroundings could yield rewards, even if only in infinitesimally small increments.
The RNA World referred to an hypothetical stage in the origin of life on Earth.
Furthermore, neither of our research groups set out in search of RNA catalysis.
Nevertheless, as is a frequent occurrence in science, a general hypothesis was constructed from a few specific instances of a phenomenon.
We are very fortunate to be recognized here in such an extraordinary manner for work that we enjoy.
Eight months later, having left Columbia, I was studying physics in a summer program and working in Colorado when I decided to enroll as a graduate student in biophysics.
Indeed, we are privileged to have been afforded the opportunity to study Nature and to follow our own thoughts and inspirations in a time of relative tranquillity and in a land with a generous and forward-looking government.
My intention was to enroll at McGill University but an unexpected series of events led me to study physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The mystique associated with the bomb, the role that scientists played in it, and its general importance could not fail to impress even a six-year old.
We are united in the hope that every individual will someday enjoy at least the intellectual privileges we have had, if not always the material advantages.
I spent eighteen months as a graduate student in physics at Columbia University, waiting unhappily for an opportunity to work in a laboratory and wondering if I should continue in physics.
I was born in Montreal in 1939, the second son of poor immigrants.
By the time I reached high school my father's grocery store had made our life adequately comfortable and I was able to choose, without any practical encumbrances, the subjects that I wanted to pursue in college.