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Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience


Sir Alan Hodgkin came up to Trinity College Cambridge in the 1930s and continued as a Fellow of Trinity then joined the academic staff in The Physiological Laboratory. His research, primarily carried out in The Physiological Laboratory and at the Marine Biology Association in Plymouth, was on the ionic basis of nerve cell conduction. That is, how a nerve cell communicates with other cells, such as another nerve cell or a muscle cell, over long distances in the body. With Sir Andrew Huxley, who came up to Cambridge a few years after Sir Alan, he carried out pioneering work on nerve cells in squid and frogs that allowed the basic ionic mechanisms of nervous conduction, the action potential, to be solved. You can hear about Sir Alan, Sir Andrew and their ground breaking work at the Hodgkin & Huxley display.

Both Sir Alan Hodgkin and Sir Andrew Huxley were Fellows and Presidents of the Royal Society, and they served sequentially as Master of Trinity College.


During WW2, Sir Alan Hodgkin worked on aviation medicine and radar; Sir Andrew Huxley worked for Anti-Aircraft Command and for the Admiralty.


In recognition of the importance of their work, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1963 was awarded jointly to Sir Alan Hodgkin, Sir Andrew Huxley and Sir John Eccles, "for their discoveries concerning the ionic mechanisms involved in excitation and inhibition in the peripheral and central portions of the nerve cell membrane".