Sir John Eccles, Victoria’s Nobel Prize-winning scientist who was marginalised in his search for the soul

This article by Matt Neal examines the way that trying to integrate his scientific work and religion impacted the life and legacy of Sir John Eccles.

“Sir John Eccles is an icon of Australian science, but an attempt in later life to mix religion and science made him an outsider in the scientific community as it won him fans in the Catholic Church.

In 1963, along with British biophysicists Sir Alan Hodgkin and Sir Andrew Huxley, he won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their groundbreaking work on synapses and the electrical properties of neurons.

That same year, Eccles was named Australian of the Year.

But, as University of Sydney Honorary Associate Professor John Carmody once wrote: “the nation appears to have forgotten [Eccles despite the fact] modern neuroscience is forever in his debt”.

Part of the reason for the decline in his regard could stem from his latter-career work, in which he controversially attempted to marry his scientific prowess with his religious beliefs, and went in search of the soul.”

Read the full article on the ABC website.