The prestigious Weizman Institute of Science, located in the israeli city of Rehovot, has a vast, beautiful campus with about a 100 buildings and hundreds of scientists, technicians, and research students. The institute focuses on all the major sciences: chemistry, biochemistry, biology, physics, math , computer science - and encourages both basic and multidisciplinary research.
In October 2009, Prof. Ada Yonath, director of the Structural Biology Department received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (along with two other scientists, an american and a british) for her achievements in the study of the structure and function of the ribosome (a part of the cell that synthesizes protein and translates the information of the DNA). Naturally, she was invited by the Media to tell about her research and her feelings of being the first israeli woman to get a Nobel Prize.
Prof. Ada Yonath
Ribo... what? asked the man in the street.Strangely, Ms. Yonath's appearances on TV interviews, elicited discussions (especially among women at the mall/ the hairdresser's/ the park ) on her... gray hair rather than on her scientific achievements; the bottom line suggesting that as a woman scientist she should perhaps devote some of her research time to finding out ways to prevent or 'cure' the phenomenon of gray hair.
Although gray hair is supposedly a sign of wisdom , people do not want this process of graying to happen to them as it makes them look older and can have undesirable effects on their life emotionally, socially, economically. Hence their expectations that science will do some miracle about it.
Well, most people don't know much about science, scientists, scientific projects, the priorities and the financing of these projects. What they do know is that there are lots of "breakthroughs" (for which scientists are awarded prizes) that are turned into drugs which may or may not help alleviate suffering - but few real preventive or curative solutions to age related problems.