Each year, the Chemistry Department at UniFr selects a top-level scholar for its prestigious Chaim Weizmann Lecture. This year, Professor Katharina Fromm welcomed Erwin Neher, Nobel Prize laureate in Chemistry in 1991 with Bert Sakmann for discoveries on the role of ion channels in cell membranes.
On 21 November, Erwin Neher, presently Professor Emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for Physical Chemistry at the University of Göttingen in Germany, gave the Weizmann lecture at the Chemistry Department. He was as excited as a freshly-graduated researcher about his latest results: measuring how neurons function under repeated activation. Unlike computer neural networks, real neurons react very differently on subsequent stimulations. This property is fundamental for many functions of the brain that require precise timing, such as the generation of rhythms, or the localization of the origins of sounds. Malfunctions are involved in some forms of autism.
Chaim Weizmann is a renowned chemist who received his PhD from UniFr over one century ago, in 1899, before contributing to creating the Weizmann Institute near Tel-Aviv.