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Nobel Prizes and Laureates

Nobel Prizes and Laureates

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1961
Georg von Békésy

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Georg von Békésy - Facts

Georg von Békésy

Georg von Békésy

Born: 3 June 1899, Budapest, Hungary

Died: 13 June 1972, Honolulu, HI, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA

Prize motivation: "for his discoveries of the physical mechanism of stimulation within the cochlea"

Field: audiology, otolaryngology

Prize share: 1/1

Work

Our hearing works because sound waves from the surrounding world are converted in the ear into vibrations in membranes and bones. These are further converted into electrical impulses that are passed on to the brain, resulting in auditory impressions. In a series of studies from 1940 to the 1960s, Georg von Békésy clarified how processes in the cochlea in the inner ear proceed, in part by studying vibrations in membranes with the help of a microscope and sequences of photographs as well as by measuring variations in electrical charges in the receptors.

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