British Nobel Prize in Medicine 2014
In 1895 Alfred Nobel specified that the bulk of his fortune should be divided into five parts to be used for Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace to “those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.”
Today the Nobel Laureates take center stage in Stockholm, when they receive the Nobel Medal, Nobel Diploma and a document confirming the Nobel Prize amount from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.
Over the years there have been more than one hundred British Nobel laureates and it is very clear that Britain has tremendous talent. My heartfelt congratulations to Professor John O’Keefe for winning the 2014 Nobel Prize in Medicine. O’Keefe won the award jointly with the Norwegian couple Professors May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser. The prize was awarded for revolutionising the understanding of how our brain works – by discovering the brain’s inner GPS system – that enables us to orient ourselves in this very complex world. In more simplistic terms: If you wonder how you manage to find your way around your house in the dark – it’s the brain’s inner GPS system.
“By giving the prize to three neuroscientists, the Nobel committee has recognised scientific achievements, which has helped us understand a very important subject that has intrigued philosophers for centuries – how we understand and memorise our position in time and space. These observations also explain why brain injury and conditions – such as Alzheimer’s disease – have an impact on memory and orientation.”
Last week we celebrated Professor O’Keefe at a Nobel luncheon at the Swedish residence. Several Nobel Prize laureates were present and we had a really good time. It has now become a tradition to meet every year in December.