At 11 o'clock on Friday, September 5, the Körber Foundation presented the Körber European Science Prize 2014 with 750,000 euros in Prize money to Prof. Dr. May-Britt Moser and Prof. Dr. phil. Edvard Moser in the Hamburg city hall. The German minister for education and research, Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, and the First Mayor of Hamburg, Olaf Scholz, greeted the invited guests. Ranga Yogeshwar introduced the prizewinners and their research project.
In their experiments with rats, May-Britt und Edvard Moser discovered previously unknown nerve cells in the brain, which enable the rodents to maintain precise orientation. Cells known as grid cells, together with other orientation neurons, divide space into an imaginary coordinate system of "longitudes" and "latitudes." This information is used by the brain to compute cognitive maps. In this work, the pair from the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience in Trondheim was able for the first time to demonstrate an abstract mental act at the cellular level. This knowledge could one day help Alzheimer patients improve their orientation, which is limited by the disease. The Körber Prize was awarded this year for the thirtieth time.