Aaron Klug at the age of two relocates in South Africa with his family. They settle in Durban, where members of his mother's family have moved at the turn of the century.
Aaron Klug develops crystallographic electron microscopy. This combines the techniques of electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction to recover 3D structural information from two-dimensional electron micrographs. In this way, he is able to reveal the structures of protein-nucleic acid complexes of biological importance.
Aaron Klug enters the University of Cape Town to do research in physics. Here he is influenced by the teaching of Professor R.W. James, a notable X-ray crystallographer. From him Klug acquires a feeling for optics, knowledge of Fourier theory, and the fascination for certain optical experiments on external and internal conical refraction.
Aaron Klug earns his Ph.D. at Cavendish Laboratory working under D.R. Hartree on the cooling of steel through the austenite-pearlite transition. During these years he learns a lot in computing and solid state physics, and the idea of nucleation and growth in a phase change will be very useful for him later on during the study of the assembly of tobacco mosaic virus.
Aaron Klug spends a year at Colloid Science Department in Cambridge, working with F.J.W. Roughton studying the problem of simultaneous diffusion and chemical reaction, such as occurs when oxygen enters a red blood cell. During this year, he demonstrates how it is possible to analyse the experimental kinetic curves for the reaction of haemoglobin with carbon dioxide or oxygen by computer’s simulations, and so fit the rate constants.
Aaron Klug attends Durban High School. At this time he reads the book "Microbe Hunters" by Paul de Kruif, which leads him to develop a deep love for microbiology. Therefore Klug decides to start studying medicine at university.
After his M.Sc. degree, Aaron Klug works at the University of Cape Town on the X-ray analysis of some small organic compounds. He finds a method of using molecular structure factors for solving crystal structures, and he learns some quantum chemistry. He becomes also more and more passionate about the structure of matter, and how it is organised. In 1949 he moves to Cambridge with a good knowledge of X-ray diffraction.
Aaron Klug joins the newly built MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology becoming its Director from 1986 to 1996. Here Klug continues his work on helical and spherical viruses, revealing many of the basic rules governing their structure and self-assembly. Also Klug’s group is the first to determine the structure of a tRNA. Now he is Emeritus and works as a member of staff, leading a research group on the structure of DNA and RNA binding proteins which regulate gene expression.
In 1958 Aaron Klug becomes Director of the Virus Structure Research Group at Birkbeck. Supported by an N.I.H. grant, he continues to work on viruses, now extending the research to spherical viruses with the help of Finch, Holmes and, later on Reuben Leberman, a biochemist.
Aaron Klug is born in Zelva, Lithuania, to Lazar Klug, a saddler and a cattleman, and his wife, Bella Silin.
Aaron Klug enters the University of Witwatersrand. Here he takes the pre-medical course and a course in biochemistry. However, he decides to move to chemistry and then to physics and mathematics. In 1945 he earns his science degree.
Aaron Klug receives the Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for his development of crystallographic electron microscopy and his structural elucidation of biologically important nucleic acid-protein complexes".
Klug earns a Nuffield Fellowship to work on the protein ribonuclease in J.D. Bernal's department in Birkbeck College. Here he meets Rosalind Franklin, who is working on tobacco mosaic virus. Klug is charmed by this subject. He explains pictures which have anomalous curved layer lines in terms of the splitting which occurs when the helical parameters are non-rational. In four years, with Kenneth Holmes and John Finch, he maps out the general outline of the structure of tobacco mosaic virus.