Honored at the Royal Society in 1976

The six coauthors of the Nature magazine article announcing the discovery of endorphins, L-R: Terry Smith, Barry Morgan, Linda Fothergill, Hans Kosterlitz, John Hughes, and Howard Morris.

In the fall of 1973, two obscure scientists working in a small laboratory in Aberdeen, Scotland, began the most exciting adventure of their lives—one that would dramatically alter our understanding of the brain and transform the two men into world-famous celebrities.

The Body’s Natural Wonder Drug

In late 1973, scientists John Hughes and Hans Kosterlitz spent most of their time in a dusty, cramped laboratory in Aberdeen, Scotland, testing samples of soup made of pig brains. The two had found that a chemical fragment distilled from pig brains had opiate-like activity. If they could isolate the chemical, perhaps they could find a new way to help the world heal itself. Hughes and Kosterlitz’s research led them to the discovery of endorphins, the body’s natural morphine and the key to unlocking the secrets of human pain and pleasure.

As the astounding implications of what they had discovered began to unfold, endorphins were linked to drug addiction, runner’s high, appetite control, sexual response, and mental illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia. Share the excitment of the race to discover endorphins. Read Anatomy of a Scientific Discovery .

Goldberg admirably tells the story of the science and the scientists in this cutting edge work.” —Los Angeles Times