Ragnar Granit

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Ragnar Granit
Ragnar Arthur Granit circa 1956
Ragnar Arthur Granit

(1900-10-30)30 October 1900
Died12 March 1991(1991-03-12) (aged 90)
CitizenshipRussian Empire (1900-1917)
Finnish (1917–1941)
Swedish (1941–1991)
Alma materUniversity of Helsinki
Scientific career
InstitutionsKarolinska Institutet

Ragnar Arthur Granit ForMemRS[1] (30 October 1900 – 12 March 1991)[2] was a Finnish-Swedish scientist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1967[3][4][5] along with Haldan Keffer Hartline[6] and George Wald "for their discoveries concerning the primary physiological and chemical visual processes in the eye".[7][8][9][10]

Early life and education[edit]

Ragnar Arthur Granit was born on 30 October 1900 in Riihimäki, Finland, at the time part of the Russian Empire, into a Swedish-speaking Finnish family. Granit was raised in Oulunkylä, a suburb of the Finnish capital of Helsinki, and attended the Svenska normallyceum in Helsinki.

Granit graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Helsinki in 1927.

Career and research[edit]

In 1940, when Finland became the target of a massive Soviet attack during the Winter War, Granit sought refuge – and peaceful surroundings for his studies and research work – in Stockholm, the capital of neighbouring Sweden, at the age of 40. In 1941, Granit received Swedish citizenship, which made it possible for him to live and continue with his work without having to worry about the Continuation War, which lasted in Finland until 1944. Granit was proud of his Finnish-Swedish roots and remained a patriotic Finnish-Swede throughout his life, maintaining homes in both in Finland and Sweden after the Moscow Armistice ended the Continuation War and secured Finnish independence.

Granit was professor of neurophysiology at the Karolinska Institute from 1946 to his retirement in 1967.[11]

Awards and honors[edit]

Granit was elected an International Member of the American Philosophical Society in 1954.[12] In 1960, Granit was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS).[1]

In 1967 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.[10] Granit said that he was a "fifty-fifty" Finnish and Swedish Nobel laureate.[13] He was elected an International Member of the United States National Academy of Sciences the following year.[14] In 1971, he was elected an International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[15]

Photograph of the Finnish/Swedish Nobel prize winner Ragnar Granit receiving the prize from the King of Sweden, Gustaf VI Adolf.


Granit died on 12 March 1991 in Stockholm at the age of 90. Granit and his wife Marguerite, who died the same year, were buried in a church cemetery on the Finnish island of Korpo.


  1. ^ a b c Grillner, S. (1995). "Ragnar Granit. 30 October 1900-11 March 1991". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 41: 184–197. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1995.0012. ISSN 0080-4606. PMID 11615354.
  2. ^ "Ragnar Granit". Biografiskt lexikon för Finland (in Swedish). Helsingfors: Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland. urn:NBN:fi:sls-5171-1416928957777.
  3. ^ Raju, T. N. (1999). "The Nobel Chronicles". The Lancet. 354 (9178): 605–779. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)77968-X. PMID 10470741. S2CID 53297408.
  4. ^ Shampo, M. A.; Kyle, R. A. (1998). "Ragnar Granit—Nobel Laureate in Medicine". Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 73 (11): 1082. doi:10.4065/73.11.1082. PMID 9818044.
  5. ^ Dowling, J. E.; Ratliff, F. (1967). "Nobel Prize: Three Named for Medicine, Physiology Award". Science. 158 (3800): 468–473. Bibcode:1967Sci...158..468D. doi:10.1126/science.158.3800.468. PMID 4860394. S2CID 177926314.
  6. ^ Granit, R.; Ratliff, F. (1985). "Haldan Keffer Hartline. 22 December 1903-18 March 1983". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 31: 262–292. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1985.0010. ISSN 0080-4606. PMID 11621205.
  7. ^ Kernell, D. (2000). "Ragnar Granit 100 Years – Memories and Reflections". Journal of the History of the Neurosciences. 9 (3): 280–285. doi:10.1076/jhin. PMID 11232369. S2CID 24690349.
  8. ^ Noguera Palau, J. J. (2000). "Ragnar Granit. Helsinki (1900–1991)". Archivos de la Sociedad Española de Oftalmología. 75 (4): 293–294. PMID 11151162.
  9. ^ Bouman, H. D. (1968). "Ragnar Granit, M.D., Ph.D". American Journal of Physical Medicine. 47 (1): 1. PMID 4868641.
  10. ^ a b "Ragnar Granit - Biographical". Nobel.se. 12 March 1991. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  11. ^ "Ragnar Granit Seura - Ragnar Granit Sällskapet". Ragnar Granit Foundation. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
    "Ragnar Granit Institute". Rgi.fi. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  12. ^ "APS Member History". search.amphilsoc.org. Retrieved 23 January 2023.
  13. ^ Ragnar Granit in the National Biography of Finland: "There have since been occasional arguments about how many of the observations that led to the Nobel Prize were made only after Granit arrived in Sweden and about whether he is 'a Finnish or a Swedish Nobel laureate'. Granit commented diplomatically on the matter by saying "fifty-fifty". When he received his Nobel Prize, Granit was indeed a Swede by citizenship; but a significant amount of his experimental work had been done in Oxford and Helsinki, and even in Stockholm his colleagues were still mostly Finns."
  14. ^ "Ragnar Granit". www.nasonline.org. Retrieved 23 January 2023.
  15. ^ "Ragnar Arthur Granit". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 23 January 2023.

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