Everyone knows about DNA. It is the essence of our being, determining who we are and what we pass on to our children. The ribosome, on the other hand, doesn't enjoy such wide understanding. Yet without it, nothing lives. It is the mother of all molecules. For if DNA is data then it can't go anywhere, or do anything, without a machine to process it. The ribosome is that machine.

Nobel Prize winner Venki Ramakrishnan will tell the story of the race to uncover the structure of the ribosome, a fundamental discovery that resolves an ancient mystery of life itself and could lead to the development of better antibiotics to fight the most deadly diseases. He will chart his unlikely journey from his first fumbling experiments in a biology lab to being at the centre of a fierce competition at the cutting edge of modern science.