Finally Figuring It All Out: Priceless

Imagine taking a concept described by an equation, nurturing it and turning it into reality. You've got an idea what it's like to be this professor.


Lewis Kay is a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto whose research focuses on developing NMR techniques to better understand macromolecular structures. We asked everything from the pressures and joys of being a researcher to his favourite historical figure in hopes of giving you a better understanding of what goes on outside the lab for one of the best minds in Canadian research.

What do you like most about being a researcher?

There most certainly are pressures that come with the job, including securing grants, coming up with great ideas, and helping young scientists in the lab get jobs.

But the moment when you figure something out – when things finally make sense and you just know that you are right – that is priceless.

What advice would you give young researchers?

Work hard, push yourself, be stubborn and don’t listen to your advisor much!

What inspired you to become a researcher?

It was definitely the beauty of mathematics and the physical sciences. Taking a concept described by an equation, nurturing it, and watching it come to life in the form of an experiment.

What do you like to do for fun? 

Walking, swimming, reading, eating and spending time with my family.

What’s your favourite cuisine?

Probably Mediterranean.

If you could do any profession other than your own what would it be?

Interesting! I was asked on local TV when in grade 6 what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said a Playboy editor. So I guess I had better stick with that.

If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?

It would be Moses. I like to lead.

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Research2Reality is a groundbreaking initiative that shines a spotlight on world-class scientists engaged in innovative and leading edge research in Canada. Our video series is continually updated to celebrate the success of researchers who are establishing the new frontiers of science and to share the impact of their discoveries with the public.