In 1949,Giuseppe Moruzzi and Horace Magoun published their paper describing the reticular activating system. By so doing, they began the process of realising that sleep was not merely a passive withdrawal of something, and waking the opposite, but a far more nuanced and complex process. From the Wikipedia page on Moruzzi:
Until the 1940s, some scientists felt like wakefulness simply required an adequate level of sensory input rather than a specific process inside the brain. In a 1949 experiment with a cat, Moruzzi and Magoun proved that stimulation of a certain brain region (near the intersection of the pons and midbrain) created a state of alertness. This stimulated area of the brain became known as the reticular activating system or reticular formation. In their experiments, Moruzzi and Magoun also transected the cat’s reticular formation without disrupting any of the sensory nerves; the cat was rendered comatose. The experiment shifted science’s conception of sleep from a passive process to one that was actively controlled by the brain.
Unfortunately I cannot get a full text of this paper via the UCD library online. I don’t think any particular fanfare is greeting this anniversary. believed Moruzzi and Magoun should have been awarded a Nobel Prize this speech bythe 1986 Nobel Laureate Rita Levi-Montalcini says so explictly