In honor of György Békésy, the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) issued a commemorative silver coin with a face value of HUF 7,500 and the non-ferrous metal version thereof with a face value of HUF 2,000 on the anniversary of the Nobel Prize-winning biophysicist's birth. The special oval-shaped collector coins augment the series presenting Hungarian Nobel prize winners.
With this coin, the Bank aims to pay homage to his work and the scientist himself who died half a century ago. In 1961, Georg von Békésy received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries of the physical mechanism of stimulation within the cochlea. He died as a Hungarian citizen in Honolulu in 1972.
Békésy’s research results have a long-lasting effect, even today. He was the first to establish that waves are created in the ear passing through the organ, and he also measured the travelling speed of the waves. During his studies, Békésy found that the basilar membrane in the cochlea of the inner ear passes vibrations on as a flexible surface in the same manner as the eardrum surrounding the middle ear. As a result, the pitch of the sound cannot be perceived on the basis of echoes off the basilar membrane. He demonstrated that non-linear waves pass through the cochlea, reaching its maximum in different parts of the duct of some 30 mm in length depending on the frequency of the sound wave. Additionally, he also showed that the resulting sound wave only serves as the source in the operation of the nerve cells transmitting sound sensation for which the energy is provided by electrochemical sources in the cochlea.
Based on his research, the method of hearing was revealed. The nowadays used devices to examine hearing operate on the basis of the operating principle of the audiometer developed by him.
On the obverse, one of the major results of Georg von Békésy’s research is featured: travelling sound waves within the cochlea in the inner ear, that arrive from the surroundings. Inserted into the representation of the cochlea, in small print the lettering “BÉKÉSY GYÖRGY A BELSŐ FÜL CSIGÁJÁBAN LÉTREJÖVŐ INGERÜLETEK FIZIKAI MECHANIZMUSÁNAK FELFEDEZÉSÉÉRT KAPOTT FIZIOLÓGIAI ÉS ORVOSTUDOMÁNYI NOBEL-DÍJAT 1961-BEN” (György Békésy received the Noble Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries of the physical mechanism of stimulation within the cochlea in 1961) is seen inside, while outside the indications of sound wavelength: “200 Hz 400 Hz 600 Hz 800 Hz 1000 Hz 1500 Hz 2000 Hz 3000 Hz 4000 Hz 5000 Hz 7000 Hz 20000 Hz” are placed. On the obverse, the compulsory design elements of collector coins are found: the denominations “7500” and “2000 FORINT”, the mint mark “BP.” and at the bottom, following the bend of the edge the lettering “MAGYARORSZÁG” (Hungary) and the mint year “2022”. On the right edge, in the middle the master mark of applied artist, Zoltán Endrődy, designer of the obverse, is shown.
On the reverse, the portrait of the Noble Prize winner scientist is seen complemented by the inscriptions “BÉKÉSY GYÖRGY” “NOBEL-DÍJ ● 1961 ●” (György Békésy Noble Prize 1961) to the left of the portrait in three lines. On the right edge of the reverse, the master mark of sculptor Zoltán Kovács, designer of this side, is found.
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