Hubel, half the Nobel Prize Winning Team to Discover Retina's Role with the Brain, Dies
Wiesel and Hubel celebrating their Nobel prize in 1981.
"Dr. David Hubel, who was half of an enduring scientific team that won a Nobel Prize for explaining how the brain assembles information from the eye’s retina to produce detailed visual images of the world, died on Sunday in Lincoln, Mass. He was 87," reports the New York Times. "Dr. Hubel and Dr. [Torsten] Wiesel liked to recall that their initial discovery about how vision works resulted from luck. Working in a tiny basement laboratory at Johns Hopkins, the pair struggled for days to coax brain cells in cats to respond to images of dark and light spots. Becoming increasingly frustrated, they waved their arms, jumped around, and, in a moment of levity, displayed images of glamorous women from magazines. Then, as they shifted a slide in the opthalmoscope, a cell in the cat’s visual cortex suddenly started to fire. The edge of the slide had cast a straight, dark line on the animal’s retina. “It was what the cell wanted, and it wanted it, moreover, in just one narrow range of orientations,” Dr. Hubel said in his Nobel lecture. They studied the cell for nine hours, and then, Dr. Wiesel recalled, ran down the hall screaming with joy." Read more.