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
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.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.