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Alan Lloyd Hodgkin

Sir Alan Lloyd Hodgkin

BornFebruary 5 1914(1914-02-05)
Banbury, Oxfordshire, England
DiedDecember 20 1998 (aged 84)
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Known for Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1963)
Occupationphysiologist and biophysicist

Sir Alan Lloyd Hodgkin, OM, KBE, FRS (born February 5, 1914, Banbury, Oxfordshire, England [1]; died December 20, 1998 Cambridge [2]) was a British physiologist and biophysicist, who won the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work with Andrew Fielding Huxley on the basis of nerve "action potentials," the electrical impulses that enable the activity of an organism to be coordinated by a central nervous system. Hodgkin and Huxley shared the prize that year with John Carew Eccles, who was cited for research on synapses. Hodgkin and Huxley's findings led the pair to hypothesize ion channels, which were confirmed only decades later.

The experimental measurements on which the pair based their action potential theory represent one of the earliest applications of a technique of electrophysiology known as the "voltage clamp". The second critical element of their research was the so-called giant axon of Atlantic squid (Loligo pealei), which enabled them to record ionic currents as they would not have been able to do in almost any other neuron, such cells being too small to study by the techniques of the time. The experiments took place at the University of Cambridge beginning in 1935 with frog sciatic nerve and continuing into the 1940s, after interruption by World War II.

During the war he volunteered to work on Aviation Medicine at Farnborough and was subsequently transferred to the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) where he worked on the development of centimetric radar, including the design of the Village Inn airborne gun-laying system.

Hodgkin and Huxley subsequently published their theory in 1952.

Confirmation of ion channels came with the development of the patch clamp, which led to a Nobel prize in 1991 to Erwin Neher and Bert Sakmann.

Hodgkin was educated at Gresham's School, Holt, Norfolk and Trinity College, Cambridge. He was knighted in 1972 and appointed to the Order of Merit in 1973. From 1970 to 1975 he was President of the Royal Society, and from 1978 to 1984 he was Master of Trinity College.

See also


  1. ^ GRO Register of Births: MAR 1914 3a 2167 BANBURY - Alan L. Hodgkin, mmn = Wilson
  2. ^ GRO Register of Deaths: DEC 1998 B43C 32 CAMBRIDGE - Alan Lloyd Hodgkin, DoB = 5 Feb 1914, aged 84
  • The Master of Trinity at Trinity College, Cambridge
  • Nobel biography of Hodgkin
  • BBC obituary
  • Speech at Nobel banquet, 1963
  • Action Potential Paper
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lord Blackett
President of the Royal Society
Succeeded by
The Lord Todd
Preceded by
The Lord Butler of Saffron Walden
Master of Trinity College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
Sir Andrew Huxley
Preceded by
The Lord Adrian
Chancellor of the University of Leicester
Succeeded by
Sir George Porter
NAME Hodgkin, Alan Lloyd
SHORT DESCRIPTION physiologist and biophysicist
DATE OF BIRTH 1914-02-05
PLACE OF BIRTH Banbury, Oxfordshire, England
DATE OF DEATH 1998-12-20
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Alan_Lloyd_Hodgkin". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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