Science and society

From curiosity to scientific knowledge

The path of a Nobel Prize winner
April 17 at 11:30 am

the role that curiosity plays as a driving force behind the sciences

In 1991, when Erwin Neher received the Nobel Prize in Medicine, he spoke about the primordial role luck had played in his life: the luck of having been educated by good teachers, the luck of researching the right problem and, most of all, the luck that his discoveries were taken up by other scientists who went on to use them in their own brilliant experiments. Yet there is also another decisive factor in Neher’s trajectory: curiosity.

For Erwin Neher, curiosity is the key ingredient in scientific research. It was thanks to curiosity that, along with his lab partner Bert Sakmann, he decided to resume studying the electricity that circulates through the human body. This was what led him to the incredible discovery of how individual ion channels work in cells. And this, in turn, served as the basis for the method upon which many modern medicines act. This seminal discovery was what earned Neher and Sakmann the Nobel Prize.

In this interview, the renowned German physicist and researcher will reflect on the importance of basic science and the role that curiosity plays as a driving force behind the sciences.


Imagen de Erwin Neher
Erwin Neher

German physicist Erwin Neher studied physics at the Technische Universität München (Germany) and medicine at Universität Göttingen (Germany), and obtained a specialization in physiology

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Imagen de Francisco Aravena
Francisco Aravena

Journalist and writer Francisco Aravena is the editor and host of La Tercera’s daily current events podcast, Crónica stereo…

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