Julius Axelrod was born in 1912 in New York. He went through a long and arduous process before obtaining his medical degree. When he first applied, he was not accepted to medical school and specialized in chemistry and pharmacology at New York University. He also engaged in researching the metabolism of drugs. At the age of 43, when he finally received his medical degree, he moved to the National Institute of Mental Health, and later served as head of the Pharmacology department.
In 1970, Julius Axelrod and his colleagues, Bernard Katz and Ulf Von Euler, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their discoveries concerning transmitters and their operation mechanism”.
Nerve signals are transmitted in the body in two ways: by means of electric action potentials and by means of chemical substances – neurotransmitters.
In the early 1960’s, Axelrod and his colleagues researched the noradrenaline neurotransmitter, and discovered how transmitters are stored in nerve terminals, the mechanism of their discharge and manner of activity.
At a later stage, Axelrod also discovered two methods for stopping the activity of transmitters: the first by means of a specific enzyme that breaks it down, and the second by the quick re-absorption of the residuals of the neurotransmitter for storage, until the next stimulation.
Beyond his theoretical contribution to the understanding of nerve function, Julius Axelrod can be credited with furthering the practical applications of these theories in the treatment of mental illness and conditions such as high blood pressure.
Bernard Katz was born in Leipzig, Germany in 1911.
He received the 1970 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine, together with Julius Axelrod, for their discoveries concerning the neuro-transmitter’s function in transmitting nerve signals to muscle cells.
Paul Samuelson was born in 1915 in the State of Indiana. He studied at Harvard University and thereafter at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he became a research lecturer from 1940. In 1948/49, he headed a presidential task force on American public welfare and also served as economic advisor to presidents Kennedy and Johnson.
In 1970, Paul Samuelson was awarded the Nobel prize for economic sciences “for the scientific work through which he has developed static and dynamic economic theory and actively contributed to raising the level of analysis in economic science”.
As a theoretician, Samuelson was involved in all branches of economics. The first of his many publications was the book “Foundations of Economic Analysis” in which he presented economics in the form of mathematical models. He was also a prominent and talented educator and his book “Economics” has been translated into 80 languages and has reached millions of readers all over the world.
Paul Samuelson favors a reasonable amount of government intervention in the economic marketplace, but feels it should not lead to disruptions or overly extensive limitations. He believes that the government can best influence the economic climate through its budget and monetary policies.