British-US scientist John O’Keefe and married couple May-Britt and Edvard Moser from Norway have won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering the brain’s “inner GPS”.
Prof O'Keefe, from University College London, discovered the first part of the brain's internal positioning system in 1971. In experimenting with rats he showed that a set of nerve cells became activated whenever a rat was in one location in a room then a different set of cells were active when the rat was in a different area.
Prof O'Keefe argued these "place cells" - located in the hippocampus - formed a map within the brain.
Their research could also prove useful in Alzheimer's research; because of the parts of the brain those cells lie in - the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex.
The Nobel awards in physics, chemistry, literature and peace will be announced later this week. The economics prize will be announced next Monday.
Copyright Speakers Corner 2017