Jens Christian Skou was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1997 for the discovery of the sodium-potassium pump – an enzyme that transports sodium and potassium through the cell membrane.
The pump acts as a kind of battery in the cells and is a precondition for nerve impulses and muscle contractions and is thus vital.
When he presented his ideas in 1957, Jens Christian Skou was the only one with this view in the scientific environment. Forty years later, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his ground-breaking research.
Jens Christian Skou died in 2018 aged 99. He founded ion research at Aarhus University – and it is still flourishing today – and has been crucial for our understanding of cells and life. His spirit lives on in the Department of Biomedicine, where the newest building is also named after him.