Georg von Békésy
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Békésy won a Nobel Prize in 1961 for his research on the workings of the inner ear
|Data 2:|| June 3, 1899|
|Data 3 (data hidden if data3 empty or not defined):|| June 13, 1972|
In 1961, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on the function of the cochlea in the mammalian hearing organ. The decision of the prize committee had been controversial from the beginning, and research of the past three decades revealed that von Békésy’s main conclusions were in error.
Békésy developed a method for dissecting the inner ear of human cadavers while leaving the cochlea partly intact. By using strobe photography and silver flakes as a marker, he was able to observe that the basilar membrane moves like a surface wave when stimulated by sound. Because of the structure of the cochlea and the basilar membrane, different frequencies of sound cause the maximum amplitudes of the waves to occur at different places on the basilar membrane along the coil of the cochlea.
He concluded that his observations showed how different sound wave frequencies are locally dispersed before exciting different nerve fibers that lead from the cochlea to the brain. He theorized that the placement of each sensory cell (hair cell) along the coil of the cochlea corresponds to a specific frequency of sound (the so-called tonotopy). Békésy later developed a mechanical model of the cochlea, which confirmed the concept of frequency dispersion by the basilar membrane in the mammalian cochlea. But this model could not provide any information as to a possible function of this frequency dispersion in the process of hearing.
In a posthumous 1974 article looking back over progress in the field, he remarked "In time, I came to the conclusion that the dehydrated cats and the application of Fourier analysis to hearing problems became more and more a handicap for research in hearing," referring to the difficulties in getting animal preparations to behave as when alive, and the misleading common interpretations of Fourier analysis in hearing research.
Békésy was born in Budapest, Hungary, the son of diplomat Alexander von Békésy and his wife Paula. He went to school in Budapest, Istanbul, Munich, and Zürich. He studied chemistry in Berne and received his PhD from the University of Budapest in 1926.
During World War II, Békésy worked for the Hungarian Post Office, where he did research on telecommunications. This research led him to become interested in the workings of the ear. In 1946, he left Hungary to follow this line of research at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Goldstein, B. 2001. Sensation and Perception, 6th ed. London: Wadsworth.
- ↑ (1974) ""Some Biophysical Experiments from Fifty Years Ago"". Annual Review of Physiology.
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- Evans, Rand B (2003), "Georg von Békésy: visualization of hearing.", The American psychologist 58 (9): 742-6, 2003 Sep, PMID:14584991, DOI:10.1037/0003-066X.58.9.742, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14584991>
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- Shampo, M A & Kyle, R A (1993), "Georg von Békésy--audiology and the cochlea.", Mayo Clin. Proc. 68 (7): 706, 1993 Jul, PMID:8350644, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8350644>
- Tonndorf, J (1986), "Georg von Békésy and his work.", Hear. Res. 22: 3-10, 1986, PMID:3525485, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3525485>
- Bernhard, C G (1986), "Georg von Békésy and the Karolinska Institute.", Hear. Res. 22: 13-7, 1986, PMID:3525483, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3525483>
- "Proceedings of Nobel Symposium 63. Cellular mechanisms in hearing (en hommage à Georg von Békésy). Karlskoga, 2-6 September 1985.", Hear. Res. 22: 1-326, 1986, 1986, PMID:3525481, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3525481>
- Tonndorf, J (1974), "In memoriam Georg von Békésy 1899-1972.", J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 55 (3): 576-7, 1974 Mar, PMID:4594785, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4594785>
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- Ratliff, F (1973), "Georg von Békésy.", Experimental brain research. Experimentelle Hirnforschung. Expérimentation cérébrale 16 (3): 219-20, 1973 Jan 29, PMID:4568685, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4568685>
- Keidel, W D (1973), "[In memoriam Professor Dr.phil.Dr.med.h.c. Georg von Békésy]", Zeitschrift für Laryngologie, Rhinologie, Otologie und ihre Grenzgebiete 52 (1): 1-6, 1973 Jan, PMID:4567951, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4567951>
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- "Georg von Beksey.", ASHA 14 (9): 513, 1972, 1972 Sep, PMID:4560564, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4560564>
- Tonndorf, J (1972), "[Obituary for Georg von Békésy (1899-1972)]", Archiv für klinische und experimentelle Ohren- Nasen- und Kehlkopfheilkunde 203 (1): 81-5, 1972, PMID:4564741, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4564741>
- "The American Speech and Hearing Association presents the honors of the Association.", ASHA 9 (6): 222, 1967, 1967 Jun, PMID:5343023, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/5343023>
- BERNHARD, C G (1962), "Presentation of the Nobel prize for physiology or medicine (1961) to George von BEKESY.", Transactions of the American Otological Society 50: 332-6, 1962, PMID:13971073, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13971073>
- KEIDEL, W D (1961), "[G. von BEKESY Nobel prize winner 1961.]", Zeitschrift für Laryngologie, Rhinologie, Otologie und ihre Grenzgebiete 40: 885-8, 1961 Dec, PMID:14037041, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14037041>
- PALVA, T (1961), "[The 1961 Nobel prize in medical science and physiology (Georg von BEKESY).]", Duodecim; lääketieteellinen aikakauskirja 77: 791-2, 1961, PMID:14037251, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14037251>
- Nobel Prize Biography
- Georg von Békésy page at the Pacific Biosciences Research Center
- Békésy Laboratory of Neurobiology website
- Békésy art collection
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