a nobel prize for the noblest of sensory systems - somatosensation - has been awarded to david julius and ardem patapoutian. the citation states: "for their discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch"  

reported in: The Scientist by Chloe Tenn on 4th October 2021 & The Independent by Andrew Griffin on 4th October 2021 & The Guardian by Ian Sample on 4th October 2021

this story was in episode 18 #touch #pain #temperature #pressure #nobel

the error bar says

many, if not all news outlets reported the winners of the Nobel prize for Physiology or Medicine. this year, it's for the molecular & biophysical mechanisms of our sensitivity to touch & pain.

the Nobel website points out that the last Nobel for bodily senses was in 1944 - to Erlanger & Gasser's work on the functions of the different kinds of sensory nerve fibres.

this new prize is first, for Julius' work to find & then understand the mechanisms that allow the sensory nerves in the skin to respond to chilli peppers - in particular to capsaicin, the chilli chemical that causes heat & pain.

second, for Patapoutian's work to find & then understand the mechanisms that cause nerve cells to respond electrically when prodded. these mechanically-sensitive structures in nerve cells allow us to feel touches & sense the position & movement of our bodies.

the original work was published between 1997 & 2015, in the journals Nature, Neuron, Cell & Science.


well done


The Scientist: fact - scientific story reported well

The Independent: fair - scientific story mostly intact

The Guardian: fact - scientific story reported well