Allvar Gullstrand


Allvar Gullstrand

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

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


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.

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