The hundredth anniversary of Robert Barany's Nobel Prize in Medicine offers the opportunity to highlight the importance of his discoveries on the physiology and pathophysiology of the vestibular organs. Barany developed the method of caloric vestibular stimulation that revolutionized the investigation of the semicircular canals and that is still widely used today. Caloric vestibular stimulation launched experimental vestibular research that was relevant to comprehend the evolution of human locomotion, and Barany's tests continue to be used in neuroscience to understand the influence of vestibular signals on bodily perceptions, cognition and emotions. Only during the last 20 years has caloric vestibular stimulation been merged with brain imaging to localize the human vestibular cortex.