Edgar Douglas Adrian
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1932
Born: 30 November 1889, London, United Kingdom
Died: 8 August 1977, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Prize motivation: “for their discoveries regarding the functions of neurons”
Prize share: 1/2
Our bodily functions are governed by our nervous system, which consists of many nerve cells with extensions, or nerve fibers, which form a system of connections between the brain and spinal cord and the rest of the body. Signals in the nervous system are transferred by small electrical currents and by chemical substances. Edgar Adrian developed methods for measuring electrical signals in the nervous system, and in 1928 he found that these always have a certain size. More intensive stimuli do not result in stronger signals, but rather signals that are sent more often and through more nerve fibers.
Their work and discoveries range from the Earth’s climate and our sense of touch to efforts to safeguard freedom of expression.
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