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Letters to the Editor: More Nobel prizes for UC — will that convince us to fully fund higher education?

Jennifer Doudna
UC Berkeley biochemist Jennifer Doudna shared this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry with Emmanuelle Charpentier.
(Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

To the editor: All Californians can be proud that UC system professors have just won 2020 Nobel Prizes — UCLA’s Andrea Ghez for physics, and UC Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna for chemistry. Several UC schools are considered the best public universities in the country.

However, to the shame of our state government, higher education spending in California accounted for 12% of the state budget in 2016-17, down from 18% in 1976-77. As a result, tuition at the UC and Cal State systems has tripled over the last 20 years, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

We need our California legislators to increase university funding so that our children and grandchildren can continue to enjoy the remarkable educational opportunities our state schools offer.

Ken Goldman, Beverly Hills

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To the editor: The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded for the first time to two women, Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier, for their pioneering work on the gene editing technology called CRISPR. This is a well-deserved recognition for what I believe is one of the most significant achievements in the field of molecular biology since Rosalind Franklin proved in 1952 that DNA consisted of a double helix.

Franklin’s iconic “Photograph 51" showing the double helix ultimately led three researchers at Cambridge University — James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins — to produce a model of DNA which they published in a one-page paper in the journal Nature in April 1953. The three men won the 1962 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.

Unfortunately, Franklin, who was born 100 years ago, died of ovarian cancer in 1958 at age 37. If she were alive today, there is no doubt Franklin would be delighted to learn of Doudna and Charpentier’s seminal achievement and award.

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Harold N. Bass, Porter Ranch


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