Honorary Unsubscribe

Randy Cassingham’s Honorary Unsubscribe Recognizes the Unknown, the Forgotten and the Often Obscure People who Had an Impact on Our Lives.
These are the people you will wish you had known.

Visionary neuroscientist

David H Hubel

A Canadian, Hubel was a Professor of Neurobiology who worked most of his career at Harvard Medical School. Hubel and his research partner, psychiatrist Torsten N. Wiesel, studied how vision worked. The brain’s “vision center” was already known, but when they put electrodes in the cerebral cortex of monkeys and cats to try to measure visual stimulus, they got nothing. They tried showing the animal a dot on a screen. They tried showing it bright flashes of light. They tried dancing for a cat. As a joke, they even tried sexy photos of women, but they still got nothing. “I knew we were losing traction in an experiment when Torsten began to talk to me in Swedish,” Hubel said. “Usually this was around 3:00 a.m.” The key was to design much better electrodes, and then they got an explosion of data which helped explain not only how vision worked, but also provided help in treating vision problems, including childhood cataracts, strabismus (improper alignment between the two eyes, such as cross-eye), and amblyopia (“lazy eye”). Hubel and Wiesel discovered that vision is detected and processed by a combination of “simple” and “complex” cells — specialized neurons which combine in the brain to detect angles, edges of objects, motion, depth, and color. “When it comes to sheer fun, our field is hard to beat,” Hubel once said. “We try to keep that a secret.” Hubel and Wiesel worked together for a quarter century, and for their discoveries they shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1981. Dr. Hubel died in Massachusetts on September 22, from kidney failure. He was 87.

From This is True for 29 September 2013


Honorary Unsubscribe Books

HU BooksThe Early Writeups from This is True's popular Honorary Unsubscribe feature are now available for your Kindle (or Kindle software for your smartphone, tablet, or computer) as low-cost ebooks.

See details on Volume 1 (covering 1998 through 2000), Volume 2 (2001 through 2003), Volume 3 (2004 through 2006), and Volume 4 (2007 through 2009).

The honorees truly are the people you wish you had known.

About the HUs
About This is True

Subscribe Free
to This is True
Your E-mail:


Oldest: Memory savior Miep Gies

Newest: Communications visionary Vanu Bose


Complete Name List

Prev: Limnologist Ruth Patrick

Next: Visionary mathematician Abraham Nemeth

Complete Name List

Copyright 1998-2017 ThisIsTrue.Inc, all rights reserved. May not be copied or archived without express, prior, written permission. "This is True" is a registered trademark of ThisIsTrue.Inc, Ridgway Colorado.