THE NOBEL


The Nobel Prize is the world's foremost honor in recognition of cultural and/or scientific advances for activities related to chemistry, physics, physiology or medicine, literature, economics, and peace. Every year, in October, candidates who have done work of great value for the good of humanity in these areas are chosen to receive the prize in December 10, the birthday of the creator of the award, Alfred Nobel.
The history of the prize begins with Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. After experiencing displeasure for the death and destruction caused by his invention, Nobel proposed creation of an award that would honor those who, in the future, would serve the good of humanity. He left his fortune of SEK 32 million for the creation of an institute to administer the prize, the Nobel Foundation. The first award ceremony took place in 1901 at the Royal Conservatory of Stockholm. These awards are given annually by the Royal Academy of Sciences of Sweden, Swedish Academy, Norwegian Nobel Committee, and Karolinska Institute to individuals and organizations that have contributed exceptionally in the above areas.
We reviewed the literature on persons who have won or competed for this prize in subjects related to vision and ophthalmology. The topics were divided into vision physiology, diagnostic and therapeutic methods, disease mechanism, and miscellaneous categories.

Allvar Gullstrand

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1911 
Born: 5 June 1862, Landskrona, Sweden 
Died: 28 July 1930, Stockholm, Sweden 
Affiliation at the time of the award: Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden 
Prize motivation: "for his work on the dioptrics of the eye." 
Prize share: 1/1

Achievement:

Our vision is based on the eye's lens breaking up light from the outside world and converting it into an image at the back of the eye. From here, photosensitive retinal cells convert the light into nerve impulses that eventually become visual images. Calculating the path rays of light take through the eye and how an image is created is very complicated because the eye's lens consists of different layers that refract light to different degrees. Moreover, the lens also changes shape. However, Allvar Gullstrand succeeded in doing just that in the 1890s using advanced mathematics.

Ragnar Granit

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1967
Born: 30 October 1900, Helsinki, Russian Empire (now Finland)
Died: 12 March 1991, Stockholm, Sweden
Affiliation at the time of the award: Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
Prize motivation: "for their discoveries concerning the primary physiological and chemical visual processes in the eye."
Prize share: 1/3

Achievement:

Our vision works by the light around us being captured by a large number of light-sensitive cells located in the retinas at the back of our eyes. After a series of nerve switches and conversions of chemical and electrical signals, this results in visual impressions. Using very sophisticated electrodes, Ragnar Granit was able to study the electrical impulses from the retina's cells. In studies conducted from the 1930s to the 1950s, he demonstrated that there are different types of cones (the cells that enable color vision) and that these are sensitive to light of three different wavelengths.

Keffer Hartline

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1967
Born: 22 December 1903, Bloomsburg, PA, USA
Died: 17 March 1983, Fallston, MD, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA
Prize motivation: "for their discoveries concerning the primary physiological and chemical visual processes in the eye."
Prize share: 1/3

Achievement:

Our vision functions because light from the surrounding world is captured by many light-sensitive cells in the retina at the back of the eye. A series of reconnections and transformations of chemical and electrical signals finally result in visual impressions. In studies of the horseshoe crab around 1950, Keffer Hartline analyzed how the primary signals from visual cells are processed in a network of nerve cells. Among other things, he showed that when a cell is stimulated, signals from surrounding cells are suppressed. This makes it easier to understand the concept of contrasts.

George Wald

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1967
Born: 18 November 1906, New York, NY, USA
Died: 12 April 1997, Cambridge, MA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
Prize motivation: "for their discoveries concerning the primary physiological and chemical visual processes in the eye."
Prize share: 1/3

Achievement:

Our vision functions because light from the surrounding world is captured by many light-sensitive cells in the retina at the back of the eye. George Wald found that vitamin A is an important component in rhodopsin, a light-sensitive substance in the retina, and explained in a series of studies from the 1930s to the 1960s how light causes rhodopsin to change form and be converted. This conversion gives rise to signals in a complicated network of nerve cells by which a number of reconnections and transformations occur before the signals eventually are transformed into visual impressions in the brain.

David H. Hubel

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1981
Born: 27 February 1926, Windsor, ON, Canada
Died: 22 September 2013, Lincoln, MA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
Prize motivation: "for their discoveries concerning information processing in the visual system."
Prize share: 1/4

Achievement:

Our vision works by the light around us being captured by a large number of light-sensitive cells located in the retinas at the back of our eyes. The light is converted into signals that are sent to the brain and there converted into visual impressions. David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel clarified how this process works during the 1960s: In the cerebral cortex signals are analyzed in sequence by cells with the specific tasks of interpreting contrasts, patterns, and movements. They also showed that this ability develops in children during the initial period after birth.

Torsten N. Wiesel

Torsten N. Wiesel
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1981
Born: 3 June 1924, Uppsala, Sweden
Affiliation at the time of the award: Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
Prize motivation: "for their discoveries concerning information processing in the visual system."
Prize share: 1/4

Achievement:

Our vision works by the light around us being captured by a large number of light-sensitive cells located in the retinas at the back of our eyes. The light is converted into signals that are sent to the brain and there converted into visual impressions. Torsten Wiesel and David Hubel clarified how this process works during the 1960s: In the cerebral cortex signals are analyzed in sequence by cells with the specific tasks of interpreting contrasts, patterns, and movements. They also showed that this ability develops in children during the initial period after birth.

Peter Medawar

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1960
Born: 28 February 1915, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Died: 2 October 1987, London, United Kingdom
Affiliation at the time of the award: University College, London, United Kingdom
Prize motivation: "for discovery of acquired immunological tolerance."
Prize share: 1/2

Achievement:

Our immune system protects us against attacks by microorganisms and rejects foreign tissue. Part of our immunity has a hereditary basis, but part of it is acquired and is not present in the fetus. After Macfarlane Burnet theorized that the ability to distinguish between one's own and foreign tissue is acquired during the fetus stage, Peter Medawar successfully transplanted tissue between mouse fetuses without rejection in 1951. He could perform new transplants on the mice when they became adults, something that did not work when the transplants were not performed during the fetus stage. The results had significance for organ transplants.

Albert Einstein

The Nobel Prize in Physics 1921
Born: 14 March 1879, Ulm, Germany
Died: 18 April 1955, Princeton, NJ, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut (now Max-Planck-Institut) für Physik, Berlin, Germany
Prize motivation: "for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect."
Prize share: 1/1

Achievement:

If metal electrodes are exposed to light, electrical sparks between them occur more readily. For this "photoelectric effect" to occur, the light waves must be above a certain frequency, however. According to physics theory, the light's intensity should be critical. In one of several epoch-making studies beginning in 1905, Albert Einstein explained that light consists of quanta - "packets" with fixed energies corresponding to certain frequencies. One such light quantum, a photon, must have a certain minimum frequency before it can liberate an electron.

Arthur L. Schawlow

The Nobel Prize in Physics 1981
Born: 5 May 1921, Mount Verno, NY, USA
Died: 28 April 1999, Palo Alto, CA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
Prize motivation: "for their contribution to the development of laser spectroscopy."
Prize share: 1/4

Achievement:

Electrons in atoms and molecules have fixed energy levels, according to the principles of quantum physics. When there are transitions among different energy levels, light with certain frequencies is emitted or absorbed. This allows atoms and molecules to be analyzed with the help of the absorbed light's spectrum. With the laser's coherent and intense light, the measurement phenomenon can occur. In the 1960s, Arthur Schawlow made use of this to eliminate the Doppler effect, allowing him to determine energy levels with great precision.

Roy J. Glauber

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2005
Born: 1 September 1925, New York, NY, USA
Died: 26 December 2018, Newton, MA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
Prize motivation: "for his contribution to the quantum theory of optical coherence."
Prize share: 1/2

Achievement:

According to quantum physics, which was developed at the beginning of the 20th century, light and other electromagnetic radiation appear in the form of quanta, packets with fixed energies, which can be described as both waves and as particles, photons. However, no real in-depth theory of light based on quantum theory existed before Roy Glauber established the foundation for quantum optics in 1963. This required the development of the laser. Its concentrated and coherent light gave rise to more quantum physical phenomena than regular light.

William C. Campbell

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2015
Born: 28 June 1930, Ramelton, Ireland
Affiliation at the time of the award: Drew University, Madison, NJ, USA
Prize motivation: "for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites."
Prize share: 1/4

Achievement:

A number of serious infectious diseases are caused by parasites spread by insects. River blindness is caused by a tiny worm that can infect the cornea and cause blindness. Lymphatic filariasis, or elephantiasis, is also caused by a worm and produces chronic swelling. Satoshi Omura cultured bacteria, which produce substances that inhibit the growth of other microorganisms. In 1978 he succeeded in culturing a strain from which William Campbell purified a substance, avermectin, which in a chemically modified form, ivermectin, proved effective against river blindness and elephantiasis.

Satoshi Ōmura

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2015
Born: 12 July 1935, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan
Affiliation at the time of the award: Kitasato University, Tokyo, Japan
Prize motivation: "for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites."
Prize share: 1/4

Achievement:

A number of serious infectious diseases are caused by parasites spread by insects. River blindness is caused by a tiny worm that can infect the cornea and cause blindness. Lymphatic filariasis, or elephantiasis, is also caused by a worm and produces chronic swelling. Satoshi Ōmura cultured bacteria, which produce substances that inhibit the growth of other microorganisms. In 1978 he succeeded in culturing a strain from which William Campbell purified a substance, avermectin, which in a chemically modified form, ivermectin, proved effective against river blindness and elephantiasis.

Donna Strickland

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2018
Born: 27 May 1959, Guelph, Canada
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada
Prize motivation: "for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses."
Prize share: 1/4

Achievement:

The sharp beams of laser light have given us new opportunities for deepening our knowledge about the world and shaping it. In 1985, Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland succeeded in creating ultrashort high-intensity laser pulses without destroying the amplifying material. First they stretched the laser pulses in time to reduce their peak power, then amplified them, and finally compressed them. The intensity of the pulse then increases dramatically. "Chirped pulse amplification" has many uses, including corrective eye surgeries.

Gérard Mourou

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2018
Born: 22 June 1944, Albertville, France
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA, École Polytechnique, Palaiseau,France
Prize motivation: "for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses."
Prize share: 1/4

Achievement:

The sharp beams of laser light have given us new opportunities for deepening our knowledge about the world and shaping it. In 1985, Donna Strickland and Gérard Mourou succeeded in creating ultrashort high-intensity laser pulses without destroying the amplifying material. First they stretched the laser pulses in time to reduce their peak power, then amplified them, and finally compressed them. The intensity of the pulse then increases dramatically. "Chirped pulse amplification" has many uses, including corrective eye surgeries.

BREAKTHROUGH IN VIT


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