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Andrew Huxley


Sir Andrew Fielding Huxley OM FRS (born 22 November 1917, Hampstead, London, England, UK) is a British physiologist and biophysicist, who won the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work with Alan Lloyd Hodgkin 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 the 1930s and continuing into the 1940s, after interruption by World War II. The pair published their theory in 1952. He currently maintains his position as a fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, teaching in physiology, natural sciences and medicine.

Huxley was a son of the writer and editor Leonard Huxley by his second wife Rosalind Bruce, and hence half-brother of Aldous Huxley and grandson of the biologist T. H. Huxley.

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