Indexed on: 20 Oct '01Published on: 20 Oct '01Published in: Journal of the history of the neurosciences
Camillo Golgi and Santiago Ramon y Cajal shared the Nobel Prize in 1906 for their work on the histology of the nerve cell, but both held diametrically opposed views about the Neuron Doctrine which emphasizes the structural, functional and developmental singularity of the nerve cell. Golgi's reticularist views remained entrenched and his work on the nervous system did not venture greatly into new territories after its original flowering, which had greater impact than is now commonly credited. Cajal, by contrast, by the time he was awarded the Nobel Prize, was already breaking new ground with a new staining technique in the field of peripheral nerve regeneration, seeing the reconstruction of a severed nerve by sprouting from the proximal stump as another manifestation of the Neuron Doctrine. Paradoxically, identical studies were going on simultaneously in Golgi's laboratory in the hands of Aldo Perroncito, but the findings did not seem to influence Golgi's thinking on the Neuron Doctrine.