IUPS News


Denis Noble's pioneering work on the heart honoured at the Royal Society's 350 year Celebration

March 6, 2015

On Friday 6th March the Royal Society celebrated 350 years of the world's first scientific journal, Philosophical Transactions. The celebration included special issues of Phil Trans A and Phil Trans B which have published commentaries on a highly selected set of papers from the whole 350 year history:

http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/373/2039

http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/370/1666

Just 17 articles from Phil Trans B, and 16 articles from Phil Trans A were selected for this honour. These include historical ones by household names: Newton, Lister, Priestley, Herschel, Davey, Telford, Faraday, Joule, Maxwell, Reynolds, Eddington, Fisher, Lonsdale, Milner, Leeuwenhoek, Sloane, Stone, Young, Gompertz, Turing, Medawar, Whittington, Brenner,....... nearly all of whom could not be present at the Celebration for obvious reasons. Just 3 articles amongst those honoured were by living authors, one of whom was present at the event. This is Denis Noble, whose 1985 paper with Dario DiFrancesco "A model of cardiac electrical activity incorporating ionic pumps and concentration changes" was selected:

http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/370/1666/20140316

Comment by Denis Noble, President IUPS: "It felt deeply moving to be present at this magnificent celebration as, I believe, the only representative of such a pantheon of greats in science from Isaac Newton and Antonie van Leeuwenhoek in the seventeenth century to Alan Turing and Peter Medawar in the twentieth. It is both an honour and a deeply humbling experience. No living scientist naturally feels it right to be included. I said nothing but felt their presence 'standing on the shoulders of giants', to quote Newton himself."