Otto Loewi - Nobel Prize in Medicine

In 1936, Otto Loewi won the Nobel Prize for Medicine. He discovered the secret of nerve impulses from not one, but two dreams.

Otto Loewi was born on June 3, 1873, in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany. He was torn between medicine and philosophy but by 1894 he became dedicated to the idea of being a doctor. By 1896 he got his doctorate and after seeing the high toll tuberculosis was causing, he decided to go into research to work on a cure.

He discovered many essential ideas in biochemistry, including carbohydrate metabolism.

In the early 20s, he was working on how nerves transmit impulses. He worked on it night and day with little result. Then one night he fell asleep and had a vivid dream. He scrawled down some notes but was unable to read them the next morning. Frustrated, he waited until the next night. Again, he had a vivid dream, showing him the style of experiment that would help him in his nerve transmission work.

Sure enough, he went immediately to his lab to try the experiment. It worked, and as a result, Otto Loewi was awarded the 1936 Nobel Prize for Medicine.

As an interesting footnote, in 1938 the Germans invaded Austria. Otto was able to escape to freedom - but not before the Germans forced him to transfer all of his winnings to their own banks.

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