Nobel Goes to Trio For Discovery of Brain's 'GPS'


OK, it's time to see how you did in this year's Nobel Prize office pool.

The Nobel committee in Stockholm, Sweden, awarded this year's first prize early today to John O'Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser for medicine. The trio discovered the brain's navigation system, unlocking important clues to Alzheimer's and stroke. The three will share 8 million Swedish crowns (or $1.1 million).

The Nobel committee said the scientists had discovered the human brain's "internal GPS," creating a "map of the space surrounding us and how we can navigate our way through a complex environment."

O'Keefe was first to discover the brain's positioning system in 1971 and the Mosers identified another type of nerve cell involved with the system more than 30 years later.

O'Keefe told reporters early today that he was quite surprised by the prize, especially considering what he called his "checkered youth" of changing college majors so often from aeronautics to philosophy to psychology.

"I'm still in a state of shock," he said.