Sir Bernard Katz FRS was born in Leipzig, Germany, on March 26, 1911. He is a biophysicist. He studied at Konig Alberc Gymnasium in his hometown in 1921-1929. Then, he continued his medical studies at the University of Leipzig.
Sir Bernard Katz received his doctorate in 1934. However, shortly after, he fled to England in February 1935, because the rise of Hitler had made him a mixture of threatened Russian Jews.
Arriving in England, Sir Bernard Katz worked at the University College of London (UCL), which was originally under the guardianship of Archibald Vivian Hill.
Sir Bernard Katz earned his Ph.D. D. in 1938, and won the Carnegie Scholarship for studying with John Carew Eccles at Sydney Hospital, Australia. He was naturalized in 1941, and joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1942.
Sir Bernard Katz spent the Pacific War as a radar officer. In 1946, he returned to UCL as assistant director. He was appointed as professor at UCL in 1952. He was also appointed as Head of the Biophysics Section, and was sent to the Royal Society. However, the position of Head of the Biophysics Section remained until 1978 when he became professor emeritus.
Sir Bernard Katz’s research succeeded in discovering the true nature of the synapse, namely an intersection that makes the nerve cells send signals to each other and to other cell types.
Since the 1950s, Sir Bernard Katz studied the biochemistry and action of acetylcholine, a synaptic molecule with which the synapse connects the “motor nerve” to the muscle to stimulate contractions.
Sir Bernard Katz won the Nobel prize in the field of physiology or medicine for his discovery of the release of “quantal” neurotransmitters at the synapse – that is, at each particular synapse, the number of neurotransmitters released is never less than a certain number, and if more is always a multiplication of integral numbers this amount.
Katz’s work has spurred the influence of the study of organophosphates and organochlorines, the basis of postwar studies for the mediation of nerves and pesticides, as he determined that complex enzyme cycles can be easily disrupted.
Sir Bernard Katz shared the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine in 1970 with Julius Axelrod and Ulf von Euler for their work on neural biochemistry.
Sir Bernard Katz was awarded the knighthood in 1970. And he died on April 20, 2003 in London at the age of 92 years.