UPDATED 3:43 PM PT – Monday, October 4, 2021
Two Americans have won the Nobel Peace prize for a study showing how the human body reacts to heat and touch. Doctors David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian were awarded the prize in medicine on Monday.
They have been praised for their work in the field of somatosensation, which focuses on how specialized organs such as the eyes, ears and skin react to sounds, temperatures and other stimuli. Dr. Julius reportedly used the active ingredients from chili peppers to identify nerves which respond to heat.
The 2021 #NobelPrize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded jointly to David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian “for their discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch.” pic.twitter.com/gB2eL37IV7
— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 4, 2021
In addition, Dr. Patapoutian found pressure sensitive cells, which respond to certain kinds of stimulation.
“I think it’s incredibly exciting. It concerns one of our senses and we all know, you know, how important it is to sense our surroundings for our survival,” expressed Secretary General Thomas Perlmann of the Nobel Committee. “This is a sense that, like the other ones, are absolutely crucial for us to survive. So we in the committee and assembly, we find this to be incredibly exciting.”
The doctors hoped their research would provide key insights into how doctors treated pain and other ailments.