I was joking last night that when they announced the Nobel Prize, I wouldn’t have any clue who the winner was because I basically don’t know biology from before 10 years ago. Then I wake up and the winners are systems neuroscientists. That’ll teach me to joke! Obviously, I am ecstatic.
John O’Keefe, who discovered place cells, and May-Britt and Edvard Moser, who discovered grid cells, shared the prize.
Here is the announcement. Here is a fortuitously-timed profile on the Mosers (great, must read). Here is the New York Times (currently pretty sparse, but better than The Economist). Here is an adorable piglet running through the grass.
The two O’Keefe papers that you should know are: “The hippocampus as a spatial map. Preliminary evidence from unit activity in the freely-moving rat” and “Place units in the hippocampus of the freely moving rat.” Sadly, neither are Open Access.
The Moser paper is obviously their 2005 result “Microstructure of a spatial map in the entorhinal cortex“. This is one of those cases where the data is so beautiful you can’t believe it’s real (it is):