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    Eric Kandel

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    November 7, 1929 —

    Some people are pretty good with memory.

    Take Eric Kandel. He spent the bulk of his life studying memory, trying to figure out how it works. For his efforts, he won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2000.

    Of course, his birth city of Vienna and country of Austria were proud of their native son. Kandel got a congratulatory phone call from the country's president... but it didn't exactly go well. You see, Eric Kandel is pretty good with memory.

    Kandel, like many of his Jewish compatriots, were forced to emigrate in the 1930s. So he made it sure to point out to the president that his is not an Austrian Nobel, it's a Jewish American Nobel. The president asked if something could be done to reconcile. One of Kandel's requests was the renaming of one of Vienna's streets, which was named after an antisemitic former mayor.

    It took a decade, but the street got renamed. Alas, many Austrians resisted the change.

    Some people are pretty bad with memory...

    Verdict: Jew.

    June 17, 2013

    See Also

    Bernard Katz

    Elizabeth Loftus

    Michael Rosbash

    Ralph Steinman

    George Wald
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