Sir John joins science elite

Nobel Prize winner, Sir John Walker, visiting Rastrick High School. He was a former pupil at Rastrick Grammar school'Pictured with Y11 students Peter Hepworth and head girl Gurpreet Kaur
Nobel Prize winner, Sir John Walker, visiting Rastrick High School. He was a former pupil at Rastrick Grammar school'Pictured with Y11 students Peter Hepworth and head girl Gurpreet Kaur

A FORMER Rastrick Grammar School head boy has been awarded one of world’s oldest scientific prizes and joins a list of winners which includes some of the most renowned scientists in history.

Sir John Walker FRS, has been presented with the Copley Medal by the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science.

He received the medal for his ground-breaking work in understanding what powers living cells.

On his award Professor Walker said: “I am greatly honoured by the award of such a prestigious prize. An accolade from fellow scientists is especially to be treasured.”

The Copley Medal was first awarded by the Royal Society in 1731, 170 years before the first Nobel Prize.

It is awarded for outstanding achievements in scientific research and has been awarded to such scientists as Charles Darwin (below from left) Michael Faraday, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.

Along with American biochemist Paul D Boyer, Sir John shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1997 for their work in understanding the mechanism underlying the synthesis of ATP in the mitochondrion - the power generators in cells.

This was a landmark in molecular biology and lies at the centre of understanding the chemistry of living cells. Sir Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, said: “I am incredibly pleased that this year the Copley Medal has been awarded to John Walker. The Copley Medal is the top prize for the Royal Society.

“Without his contribution to our knowledge of the process by which nutrition is transformed into energy many subsequent discoveries could not have been made. He is a role model to all scientists working in this area.”