Hippocrates (460 - 379 BC)
The father of western medicine oncludes brain was involved in sensation and was the seat of intelligence. Plato agrees.
Hippocrates would bore a hole in the sculls of people with brain injuries causing epilepsy, showing that epilepsy was not caused by devil possession. He didn't know why it worked.

Aristotle (384 - 322 BC) - Believed the mind was located in the heart, which contained all emotions and thinking. The brain was instead a radiator used to cool the heart.

Galen of Pergamum (2nd century AD) - Performed a series of dissections, including cutting the nerves to the vocal cord of a pig which stopped it frem squealing, showing Aristotle was wrong.

Renaissance (16th century):
Science was revived. Andrea Vesalius, a Flemish anatomist, published "On the Fabric of the Human Body" in 1543; It was called them most accurate work up to that time.
Leonardo da Vinci also studied anatomy, but didn't publish his work.

Thomas Willis (1621-1675)
English anatomist and physician did work on the anatomy of the brain and published Pathologicae cerebri, et nervosi generis specimen, an important work on the pathology and neurophysiology of the brain. Instead of taking slices to analyze it, which was the practice, he dug in and started separating the parts.

Magendie, François (1783-1855)
French physiologist and pioneer of experimental physiology, published a brief yet momentous paper on the functional discreteness of the spinal nerve roots .

Bell, Charles (1774-1842)
Scottish anatomist and neurosurgeon, described the motor role of the anterior or ventral nerve root of the spinal cord. He establishes that the nerves for each of the senses can be traced from specific areas of the brain to their end organs.

Broca, Paul (1824-1880)
French neurological clinician and researcher determines the location of speech center of the brain.

Müller, Johannes (1801-1858)
Professor at Berlin, developed "The Law of Specific Nerve Energies".

Joseph Erlanger and Herbert Spencer Gasser share the Nobel Prize in 1944, for their discoveries relating to the highly differentiated functions of individual nerve fibers.

Walter Rudolph Hess wins the Nobel Prize in 1949 for his work on the interbrain, which includes the hypothalamus, subthalamus and parts of the thalamus. His research shows that the interbrain is responsible for coordinating the activities of the body's internal organs.

Egas Moniz, Antonio Caetano Abreu Freire win in 1949 for Leucotomy (prefrontall lobotomy) for certain psychoses.

Knox Henderson Finley founded the Pacific Medical Centers Department of Neurology in 1959. Dr. Finley was also the Founding Director of the Institute of Neurological Science of the Institute of Medical Science.

Hans-Lukas Teuber at MIT was a pioneer in identifying areas of the brain responsible for specific functions in 1960.

John Carew Eccles, Alan Lloyd Hodgkin and Andrew Fielding Huxley share the Nobel Prize IN 1963 for their work on the mechanisms of the neuron cell membranes.

Julius Axelrod, Ulf von Euler, and Sir Bernard Katz share the Nobel Prize in 1970 for their discoveries concerning the storage, release, and inactivation of catecholamine neurotransmitters and the effect of psychoactive drugs on this process.

Torsten Wiesel and David Hubel are co-recipients of the Nobel Prize in 1981 for Physiology which they also share with Roger Sperry. Wiesel and Hubel's research centers on how visual information is transmitted from the retina to the brain. Sperry's work concerns the specialization of functions within the cerebral hemispheres of the brain.

Erwin Neher and Bert Sakmann share the Nobel Prize in 1991 for their work on the function of single ion channels which increased understanding of how cells communicate with each other.

Alfred G. Gilman and Martin Rodbell share the Nobel Prize in 1994 for their discovery of G-protein coupled receptors and their role in signal transduction.

Stanley B. Prusiner wins the Nobel Prize in 1997 for his discovery of a new genre of infectious agents known as prions. Prusiner's research implicated prions as infectious agents in several brain diseases that cause dementia in humans and animals. Prusiner's discovery of this new principle of biological infection has also helped to provide important insights into the mechanisms underlying other types of dementia-related diseases, such as Alzheimer's.

Arvid Carlsson,Gšteborg U., Sweden; Paul Greengard, Rockefeller U.; and Eric Kandel, Columbia U., share the Nobel Prize in 2000 for their discoveries concerning signal transduction in the nervous system

See: History of the Brain at PBS
History of Neuroscience at Columbia
History of Neuroscience and Neuroscience Nobel Prizes at U. of Washington

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last updated 5 Aug 2011