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Christian de Duve

Christian de Duve

Christian de Duve, a pioneer of modern cell biology and cell fractionation techniques, is the discoverer of lysosomes, cell organelles specialized for recycling and waste disposal. For his discoveries, Professor de Duve shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 1974. In recent years, Professor de Duve’s investigations have shifted from biochemistry and cell biology to the mechanisms whereby life arose on our planet almost four billion years ago and evolved to produce all extant living organisms, including human beings. He is particularly interested in the manner in which chemistry and natural selection joined to produce the first living cells and in the significance of those events as they relate to the place of life in the universe, including the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Professor de Duve proved to be a brilliant scientist, a gifted and engaging communicator, and a delightful and generous human being. While in residence at the Exploratorium, he met with staff from the life sciences department, gave an in-depth brown bag on his work on the origins of life, and sat down for an audio interview of his life’s work for a future podcast. Professor de Duve also presented a lecture on the origin of life at Meet the Minds on November 14, 2006.