Sir Bernard Katz
Born: 26 March 1911, Leipzig, Germany
Died: 20 April 2003, London, United Kingdom
Affiliation at the time of the award: University College, London, United Kingdom
Prize motivation: "for their discoveries concerning the humoral transmittors in the nerve terminals and the mechanism for their storage, release and inactivation."
Prize share: 1/3
The nervous systems of people and animals consist of many nerve cells with long extensions, or nerve fibers. Signals are conveyed between cells by small electrical currents and by special substances known as signal substances. The transfers occur via contacts, or synapses. In the 1950s Bernard Katz studied how impulses in motor neurons activate muscular activity by measuring variations in electrical charges. For example, he showed how the signal substance acetylcholine in synapses is released in certain amounts.