Brains by Purves, Dale

By Purves, Dale

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Hodgkin and Huxley’s discovery of the action potential mechanism was quickly recognized as a major advance; ten years after the work had been published, the Nobel committee awarded them the 1963 prize in Physiology or Medicine. 3 The electrical signal (the action potential or spike) that is conducted along nerve cell axons, transferring information from one place to another in the nervous system. A) Diagram of a cross-section of the spinal cord showing the stimulation of a spinal motor neuron (red) whose axon extends to a muscle.

I had no idea what any of the neurobiology faculty was doing then or why, but it was difficult to imagine how the leech could be pertinent to my ill-formed ambition to become a neuroscientist who might ultimately say something important or at least relevant to the human brain. 1 John Nicholls circa 1975. (Courtesy of Jack McMahan) In fact, Potter’s suggestion was a good one. I was somewhat reassured when Potter told me that Nicholls had been a graduate student with Bernard Katz in the late 1950s after he had completed his medical training in London, that he had been a fellow in Kuffler’s lab thereafter, and that his work on the leech was widely regarded as an outstanding example of what was then a new approach to understanding neural function—studying the nervous systems of relatively simple invertebrates.

S. com. com. Company and product names mentioned herein are the trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, without permission in writing from the publisher. Printed in the United States of America First Printing April 2010 ISBN-10: 0-13-705509-9 ISBN-13: 978-0-13-705509-8 Pearson Education LTD. Pearson Education Australia PTY, Limited Pearson Education Singapore, Pte. Ltd. Pearson Education North Asia, Ltd.

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