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Bernard Katz dies

Nobel Prize-winning biophysicist who deciphered the code for neuromuscular transmission was 92.

Susan Mayor(Susan@Mayor.dircon.co.uk)

Sir Bernard Katz, the biophysicist who was developed the quantal theory of acetylcholine release at the neuromuscular junction, died last week in London (April 20, 2003) at the age of 92, after a distinguished career at the forefront of British neurophysiology.

Katz was born in 1911 in Leipzig, Germany, the son of a Russian fur trader. He did well in school — concentrating on Latin and Greek because, he said, "it gave him more time to play chess" — and went on to study medicine at the University of Leipzig in 1929. His interest in scientific investigation became apparent early, when he combined research with his preclinical studies. After graduating, he moved to England to escape anti-Semitism after Adolf Hitler's rise to power in 1933. He joined A.V. Hill's laboratory at University College London (UCL) and earned his PhD.

After several years working in Australia with John Carew Eccles, another...

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