Sidney Altman was born on May 7, 1939, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The son of immigrant grocers, he grew up relatively poor, but graduated with a B.A. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1960. Altman's work in molecular biology won him a professorship at Yale University in 1971. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the catalytic properties of RNA.
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