Sir John Eccles (1972) - Brain, Speech and Consciousness

Sir John Eccles (1972)

Brain, Speech and Consciousness

Sir John Eccles (1972)

Brain, Speech and Consciousness

Comment

Sir John Eccles performed the investigations of the nerve cell mechanisms mentioned in the 1963 Nobel Prize citation while he was a professor at the Australian National University in Canberra. But the same year that he delivered the first of his twelve lectures at the Lindau Meetings (the first in 1966 and the last in 1993), as so many other Nobel Laureates, he moved to the US to continue his research on the brain. Also in the US, an American scientist Roger Sperry was at that time performing ground breaking studies of “the split brain”. Sperry studied animals and patients who had their two brain halves disconnected. Sir John was interested in the localisation of different thought processes, in particular speech and consciousness (as can be seen already from the title of this talk), and one can hear in his lecture that he looked on Sperry’s research as the most exciting that had happened in the field in many years. Sperry received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1981 for this work, but never took part in the Lindau meetings. As some of you may know already, each Nobel Laureate receives every year a letter from his or her Prize-Awarding Institution, in this case the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. The letter asks if the Nobel Laureate can mention one or several candidates for the next year Nobel Prize. According to the rulebook, all such letters are kept secret for 50 years before serious scholars are given the chance to read them. My guess is that when the archives open in January 2032 for the prizes of 1981, Sir John’s name will be on the list as having proposed Roger Sperry, probably also several times.

Anders Bárány

Rate this content

 (<5 ratings)

Cite


Specify width: px

Share

Rate this content

 (<5 ratings)

Cite


Specify width: px

Share


Related Content