Two weeks ago EMBL Hamburg celebrated its 40th birthday. In preparation for the event I had done a bit of research pulling out old photos and tracing the history of the institute, so it was fascinating to actually meet some of the people who had shaped our research facility. I was especially thrilled to hear Ken Holmes talk about how he and his colleagues came up with the idea that X-ray radiation from synchrotrons could be useful for structural biology, and how his vision lead to the establishment of the first EMBL outstation on the DESY campus in Hamburg. In a hilarious talk before the symposium dinner, he and his then student Gerd Rosenbaum told us how it all started. A special and unique insight. Also fascinating was the talk by Michael Rossmann who has contributed many significant breakthroughs to field of structural biology in his almost 60 years of research, and listening to him talk about his work spanning more than 5 decades, and including massive leaps in technology was mind-blowing – from his time in Cambridge with Max Perutz using computers that took up rooms to his current work using state-of-the-art methods such as electron microscopy to look at the structure of viruses. I was also glad that so many ex-colleagues had made the way up to Hamburg for the event and it was great catch up with them. Now we are sifting through the many special memories and photos. Here’s to the next 40 years.
A another look at the event can be found here.