George Wald


George Wald

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

George Wald
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.

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