Nobel Prize Award for Physiology and Medicine 1971 - 1974

About the winners of the Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine from 1971 to 1974 including Sutherland, von Frisch, and Lorenz, as well as behind the scenes information on the decision.

1971 Earl W. Sutherland, Jr. (1915-1974), American. Work: Discoveries concerning the action of hormones.

Behind the Award--Sutherland was the 1st prizewinner in a decade to be the only recipient. Professor Rolf Luft of the Nobel award committee said, "Very seldom can a discovery today be credited to a single person." Sutherland had got interested in medical research when reading Paul de Kruif's book Microbe Hunters as a teen-ager in Burlingame, Kans. After being notified of the award, he entertained reporters while watching the World Series in his gold pajamas and, as an enthusiastic sport fisherman, he said, "It will probably be too cold to go fishing in Sweden in December." He was humble about his discoveries, saying, "I chiefly sit back at my desk and pat my assistants on the back, telling them, 'Why don't we try this or why don't we try that?'" He gave special credit to his assistant researcher, Jim Davis, who had been with him for 20 years at the time. His discoveries may help in the treatment of diabetes, manic-depressive psychosis, and cancer.

1972 Gerald M. Edelman (1929- ), American.

Rodney R. Porter (1917- ), British. Work: Learning the exact chemical structure of an antibody.

1973 Karl Ritter von Frisch (1887- ), Austrian.

Konrad Lorenz (1904- ), Austrian.

Nikolaas Tinbergen (1907- ), Dutch. Work: Research on behavioral patterns.

Behind the Award--These 3 men are the most eminent founders of a new science called ethology, which gets its name from the Greek word for habit or manner and which is concerned with animal behavior. Von Frisch studies insects; his most famous work was deciphering the language of the bees, including the complex dance they do to tell one another where pollen can be found. Lorenz started by studying jackdaws in his parents' attic, then went on to geese, primates, and other animals. He demonstrated "imprinting" by being in the right place at the right time to become the "mother" of a group of baby geese. The author of On Aggression, Lorenz has applied his findings to the behavior of human beings, which has made him somewhat controversial, especially among behavioral psychologists. Tinbergen's brother Jan won the Nobel Economics Prize in 1969. Lorenz and Von Frisch had been considered for the prize before, but had been turned down because their work, it was felt, did not apply directly to human beings.

1974 Albert Claude (1899- ), American (b. Luxembourg).

Christian Rene de Duve (1917- ), Belgian (b. England).

George Emil Palade (1912- ), American (b. Romania). Work: Creation of modern cell biology.

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