Date of Interview

February 2, 2008


Sarwat Aziz Abbasi


Prof. Richard R. Ernst, NL


Bentham Science

Prof. Richard R. Ernst
Nobel Laureate

Prof. Richard R. Ernst won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1991 for his contributions to the development of the methodology of high resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Recently, I interviewed him during the 1st International Conference on Drug Design & Discovery held in Dubai in February 2008, where some 11 Nobel Laureates including Prof. Ernst were invited for an exclusive session scheduled at the Higher Colleges of Technology, Abu Dhabi. Prof. Richard R. Ernst chaired the conference. I owe thanks to Prof. Ernst for his kindness and support.


1. Tell us something briefly about your background.

Prof. Ernst: My father was an architect. I grew up in a partially art- and partially technology-oriented environment. I was a poor to medium student.

2. What led you into science?

Prof. Ernst: My curiosity for nature and technology, growing up in an old house full of secrets to be discovered.

3. What do you think is involved in being a great scientist?

Prof. Ernst: Honesty towards yourself. A sceptical mind. Be curious. Do not believe anybody and no book, even not the Bible or the Koran. Find proofs yourself.


4. Of all the different experiences and passions that you have been through in your life from your childhood to the Nobel Prize, what have you found the most rewarding in its true sense?

Prof. Ernst: Finding an incredible, compassionate wife. Contributing useful tools to mankind.

5. What was it like to be a scientist in your times and now? What difference can be seen in the students’ passion for science between the two generations?

Prof. Ernst: It is first of all great responsibility for finding beneficial avenues into the future. Resisting the money-mindedness of our time.



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