Torsten Nils Wiesel
Swedish neurobiologist, corecipient with David Hunter Hubel and Roger
Wolcott Sperry of the 1981 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. All
three scientists were honoured for their investigations of brain function,
Wiesel and Hubel in particular for their collaborative studies of the
visual cortex, which is located in the occipital lobes of the cerebrum.
Wiesel earned a medical degree from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm
in 1954. After remaining there for a year as an instructor in physiology,
he accepted a research appointment at the Johns Hopkins University Medical
School, Baltimore, Md., U.S., where his association with Hubel began.
Working with laboratory animals, they analyzed the flow of nerve impulses
from the eye to the visual cortex and were thereby able to discern many
structural and functional details of that part of the brain. Wiesel
and Hubel also studied the effects of various visual impairments in
young animals, and their results lent strong support to the view that
prompt surgery is imperative in correcting certain eye defects that
are detectable in newborn children.
Wiesel moved, along with Hubel, to Harvard University in 1959 and was
named the Robert Winthrop professor of neurobiology in 1974. He remained
a Swedish subject.