IUPS News


The Society regrets to announce the death of Andrew Huxley

June 1, 2012

Sir Andrew Huxley OM FRS has died aged 94.

Andrew, together with Alan Hodgkin, worked on nerve cell excitability in the Physiological Laboratory in Cambridge and at the Laboratory of The Marine Biological Association in Plymouth.

Their work was a fundamental breakthrough that led to the understanding of how voltage-gated ion channels give rise to propagating action potentials and provided the framework for studying and analysing ion channel kinetics. Andrew shared the 1963 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Alan Hodgkin and Jack Eccles.

In 1954, he published (with Rolf Niedergerke) the Nature paper that, together with an accompanying one by Jean Hanson and (the unrelated) Hugh Huxley, first described the sliding filament mechanism in striated muscle. His work on muscle continued at University College London from 1960, when he was appointed Jodrell Professor and Head of the Department of Physiology. He largely defined the current paradigm of muscle contraction - and indeed of cell motility overall - by developing the crossbridge theory of actin and myosin interaction.

Whilst at UCL he became President of the Royal Society, but retained his laboratory and continued to work there. He left to become Master of Trinity College Cambridge, following on Alan Hodgkin. Andrew was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1955, was knighted in 1974, and subsequently appointed to the Order of Merit in 1983. He served as President of the Royal Society from 1980 to 1985.

On retirement he continued to live in the family home in Grantchester.

All of Hodgkin and Huxley's five papers on the generation of the action potential were published in The Journal of Physiology. A focused edition of The Journal to recognise the 60th anniversary of the Hodgkin-Huxley papers was published on 1 June 2012.

A full obituary will appear on the website and be published inThe Journal of Physiology and Physiology News later in the year.