Nobel Prize Award for Physiology and Medicine 1905 to 1907

About the Nobel Prize Award for Physiology and Medicine from 1905 to 1907 including the scientists Koch and Golgi, their works, and history.


1905 Robert Koch (1843-1910), German

Work: Isolated the bacteria which causes tuberculosis

Nobel Laureate: Born in Clausthal, then part of the Hanover Kingdom, Koch resisted parental pressure pushing him into the business world to follow his own interest in medicine. After service in a couple of insane asylums, Dr. Koch joined the Prussian medical corps during the Franco-Prussian War and mustered out to rural practice, settling finally in the East Prussian village of Wollstein. There in a makeshift laboratory, in between baby deliveries and tooth extractions, he discovered the bacillus which caused anthrax, a disease which had been wiping out whole herds of European sheep and cattle and which often spread to farm families. Publishing his findings in 1880, Koch became famous overnight. He introduced the technique of staining slides and collecting pure cultures, as well as microscopic photography, to the young science of bacteriology. In 1882 he discovered the tubercle bacillus. As director of the University of Berlin's Institute of Infectious Diseases (a post created specifically for him), he discovered tuberculin, an agent which retarded the growth of tuberculosis. Meanwhile Prussian authorities were leaning on Koch to come up with a cure for TB. With spotty research, then, Koch offered the world tuberculin as the cure for this dread disease. Instead of healing, however, the doses of tuberculin began to kill people, and the program was scrapped. Still, Koch rose above the humiliation to continue research into the causes of other diseases, including sleeping sickness, bubonic plague, and malaria.

Nobel Lore: The Nobel judges awarded Koch the prize generally for all his tuberculosis-related research, but they undoubtedly were most impressed by the promise of the tuberculin cure. When the lethal serum hit the fan, the Nobel committee was denounced from all quarters.

1906 Camillo Golgi (1843-1926), Italian

Santiago Ramon y Cajal (1852-1934), Spanish

Work: Research on the nervous system and the distribution of cells

1907 Charles L. A. Laveran (1845-1922). French

Work: Study of diseases caused by protozoa

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