Medal replica of original issued by Karolinska Institute in Sweden to Sir John Eccles, Australian Nobel Laureate in Medicine, in 1963.
Artist: Erik Lindberg.

John Eccles shared the Nobel prize in 1963 for research on communication between nerve cells in the central nervous system. Eccles' work was fundamental to our understanding of how the brain and nervous system work.
The Eccles team was ingenious in developing new devices to measure nerve conduction. He worked in an era without calculators and computers.
At one point Eccles decided to disprove his own theory of electrical conduction between nerves, a wise approach as the observation of chemical nerve conduction became his Nobel prize winning work.
Eccles was born in Melbourne and completed his early training at the University of Melbourne. He worked in Canberra but also worked many stints overseas in Britain, New Zealand and the USA and finally left Australia at age 65 so he could continue his work (Australian academics had a compulsory retirement age of 65).

Physical Description

Medal cast in gold-coloured metal.

Obverse Description

The figures represent the Genius of Medicine holding an open book in her lap, collecting water pouring out of a rock in a bowl to quench a sick girl's thirst. Around, INVENTAS VITAM IUVAT EXCOLUISSE PER ARTESThis passage is taken from Virgil's Aenieid and means And they who bettered life on earth by new-found mastery. REG UNIVERSITAS MED. -CHIR. CAROL. This stands for the Karolinska Institute that awards the prize in medicine or physiology. In plaque at bottom , SIR JOHN ECCLES / MCMLXIII. Artists name E. LINDBERG.

Reverse Description

Bust of Alfred Nobel ; reads ALFR. NOBEL / NAT. / MDCCC / XXXIII OB. / MDCCC / XCVI. Artists name E. LINDBERG 1902.


These replicas of the Nobel Prizes won in medicine by Sir John Eccles, Professor Peter Doherty, and Sir Macfarlane Burnet signify Australian expertise in the field of international medical research. They were commissioned by MV in 2000 for inclusion in the Medical Melbourne exhibition and were on display for several years (2000-2005).

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