Neuroscientist and Nobel Prize winner;
Born: February 27, 1926; Died: September 22, 2013.
David Hubel, who has died aged 87, was a Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist who made important breakthroughs in understanding how sight works. With his colleague Torsten Wiesel, it was Dr Hubel who first mapped the visual cortex and worked out the relationship between the eyes and the neurons that interpret an image.
He was born in Windsor, Ontario, to American parents . As a boy,his main interests were chemistry and electronics, and he conducted some basic experiments while still a child. After school, he studied mathematics and physics at McGill University in Montreal, graduating in 1947, before being accepted for medical school.
Before long, he became fascinated by the workings of the nervous system and after three years of hospital training and a period of service in the US Army, he took a research post at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, where be began his long collaboration with Dr Wiesel; they later moved to Harvard Medical School in Boston, at first as part of the Department of Pharmacology.
By the late 1950s, the two men were beginning to discover how nerve cells, or neurons, analyse the light that hits the retina. They revealed that the visual cortex is arranged in vertical columns of cells, each of which is devoted to process a different part of an image.
They worked on their theories over the next 25 years and in 1981 were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The men's research, said the Nobel Prize committee, had disclosed one of the most well-guarded secrets of the brain - the way by which its cells decode the message which the brain receives from the eyes.
Dr Hubel was predeceased by his wife Ruth and is survived by his three sons.
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