Alan Lloyd Hodgkin (5 February 1914 – 20 December 1998) was an English physiologist and biophysicist. He received the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Life and Career

He was born on 5 February 1914, in Oxfordshire, England. In 1932, he enrolled at Trinity College and studied there until 1936.

In 1935, he started studying the nervous system of frogs at Cambridge.

In 1937, Gasser invited him to work in his lab at the Rockefeller Institute in New York.

After returning to Cambridge in 1938, he began working with one of his students, A F Huxley. He worked at Farnborough on aviation medicine for the British Air Ministry from 1939 to 1940.

From 1940 to 1945, he did a bunch of experiments to improve radar that helped the war effort.

In 1945, he started teaching at Cambridge University’s Physiology Lab as a teacher. When Huxley returned to Cambridge, he continued his earlier experiments with him on measuring the electrical and chemical behaviour of individual nerve fibres. Their study showed that the electrical potential of a fibre during impulse conduction is higher than the potential of a fibre at rest when microelectrodes are inserted into the giant nerve fibres of the squid Loligo forbesi, contrary to accepted theory, which said the nerve membrane breaks down during impulse conduction.

He served on the ‘Royal Society Council’ from 1958 to 1960 and then on the ‘Medical Research Council’ from 1959 to 1963.

From 1961 to 1967 he was the foreign secretary of the Physiological Society.

In 1966, he became President of the Marine Biological Association, and in December 1970, he became President of the Royal Society. In 1970, he became a Professor of Biophysics at Cambridge University.

He was chancellor of Leicester University from 1971 to 1984.

In 1978 he was appointed Master of Trinity College and stayed there until 1985.

He died on 20 December 1998, in Cambridge, England.


He received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1963.

He won the ‘Copley Medal of the Royal Society’ in 1965. He also received the ‘Order of Merit’ in 1973.

Tags: , , ,