Rita Levi-Montalcini, Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1986, turns 100 years old today: she was born on April 22nd, 1909 -before World War I had begun!
"Ok," you might say, "she's probably bedridden and demented by now." Not in the least. She is in full possession of all her wits, is a very active Senator, and has declared a few days ago that her brain works better now than it did when she was 20, because of her experience. I bet she is not kidding.
As a researcher, her most important contribution to Medicine is the discovery, in 1952, of the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), a protein inducing differentiation in neurons. She was awarded a Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1986 for that discovery, together with her colleague Stanley Cohen.
Levi-Montalcini was nominated Senator For Life by italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi in 2001. She has been actively following the works of the italian Senate since then, providing in a few cases decisive support to Romano Prodi's 2006-2008 center-left government, which had then a very narrow majority in the Senate.
My best wishes to Rita, an example of dedication and coherence to all researchers in the World.
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