Nobel Prize 2014:

The Nobel Lectures: Revealed new findings

The Nobel laureates are not resting on their laurels. During their Nobel lectures both May-Britt and Edvard Moser revealed new findings.

These findings are soon to be published in respectively Nature and PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

May-BrittMoser, the last to give her lecture, revealed the main findings concerning the hippocampus (not the entorhinal cortex this time), showing that the rats participating in the experiment posses an impressing ability to remember every and each environment in 11 different rooms. Even though each of the rooms looked almost similar, the animal was able to bring up the “correct map” every time it entered a specific room.

- This shows their brain is capable of operate with more than 10 different maps, each completely independent of the others, she explained.

READ MORE: Edvard Moser reveals news from his research

LES OGSÅ: «Du må aldri publisere søppel»

LES OGSÅ: Moser-paret har fått flere hundre millioner kroner fra Forskningsrådet

Quoting Proust

The Mosers receive the nobel Prize for their discovery of the grid cells: Cells in entorhinal cortex which automatically map in a mathematical way every piece of physical environment where the rats move.

But grid cells are capable of more than positioning: There are also cells keeping track of speed. And there are cells utilizing smell to create short cuts to memories hidden in the past. Thus, she ended her lecture by quoting Marcel Proust "Remembrance of Things Past," where the taste of Madeleine cake abruptly propells him through his life back to his boyhood.

LES OGSÅ: - Norge må hente talentene hit

A significant deviation

May-Britt followed her husband Edvard, who provided insights soon to be published in Nature.

He explained how they found a deviation in the orientation of the grid system: Grid orientation is determined by the orientation of the axis. Deviation is 7,5 degrees, “which is as asymmetric as can be”, he said.

At the same time the hexagonal grid system, normally forming a circle, is stretched to become an ellipse. The hexagonal system is the system in which most effectively enable the cells to distance themselves.

What they found is that both elliptification and axis rotation may be common end products of shearing forces from the borders of the environment.

- This means that minimizing ellipticity along one wall axis completely removed the bimodality, he explained.

Polycoordinate system

The first of the laureates to enter the podium was John O’Keefe, who told about his first discoveries of the navigating capabilities hidden in hippocampus.

- These findings suggested that without them, the animal would be deprived of means to navigate from it’s own position to any given one, disregarding any specific route, O’Keefe said.

-Then there were experiments suggesting a polycoordinate system.

Quoting Kant

O’Keefe quoted the philosopher Immanuel Kant, from (Critique of Pure Reason), a scientific departing point both for him and the Mosers:

“Space is nothing but the form of all appearances of outer sense… can be given prior to all actual perceptions, and so exists in the mind a priori, and can contain, prior to all experience, principles which determine the relations of these objects.”

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May-Britt Moser quoted Marcel Proust while giving her Nobel lecture. 

May-Britt Moser quoted Marcel Proust while giving her Nobel lecture. 

We did it. Happy laureates, receiving a well earned applause after given their Nobel lectures. 

We did it. Happy laureates, receiving a well earned applause after given their Nobel lectures. 

During his Nobel lecture, Edvard Moser epxlained some main findings soon to be published in Nature. 

During his Nobel lecture, Edvard Moser epxlained some main findings soon to be published in Nature. 

Edvard Moser in the Aula Medica at Karolinska Institutet, giving his lecture. 

Edvard Moser in the Aula Medica at Karolinska Institutet, giving his lecture. 

John O'Keefe opened his lecture by explaining how and why the German philosopher Immanuel Kant constitute the joint scienticic point of departure for both him and the Moser couple. 

John O'Keefe opened his lecture by explaining how and why the German philosopher Immanuel Kant constitute the joint scienticic point of departure for both him and the Moser couple. 

May-Britt Moser, overwhelmed, happy, at the end of her lecture 

May-Britt Moser, overwhelmed, happy, at the end of her lecture 

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Har fått flere hundre millioner kroner fra Forskningsrådet

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Får May-Britt og Edvard Moser det som de vil, ansetter NTNU John O´Keefe i en professor II-stilling.

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- You must be willing to dare

- People have approached us at the lab, wondering how is it possible for a married couple to co-work in there? Then, after some time, exclaiming: This is actually working quite well!

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- Man må være villig til å våge

- Folk har kommet og sagt til oss at man kan ikke ha ektepar som jobber sammen i en lab, men så har de kommet etterpå og sett at men jøss – dette går jo bra!

- Prisen hyller de kreative enerne

I morgen innledes Nobeluken 2014, og hele verdens øyne rettes mot årets 13 prisvinnere. UA følger begivenhetene, og åpner med å la Nobelinstituttets Göran Hansson fortelle om prisens skjønnhet og lojaliteten mot Nobels testamente.

Dette betyr Nobelprisen for NTNU

Nobelpriser fra 60- og 70-tallet har fortsatt verdi i dagens rangeringer. Prisen til Moser-paret vil påvirke NTNU i mange tiår, ifølge tidligere rektor Torbjørn Digernes.

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