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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index H > Sir Alan Hodgkin Quotes

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Sir Alan Hodgkin
(5 Feb 1914 - 20 Dec 1998)

English physiologist and biophysicist.


Science Quotes by Sir Alan Hodgkin (8 quotes)

I think that Alfred Nobel would have been pleased that his prize emphasizes the continuity of science, as well as its novelties.
— Sir Alan Hodgkin
From Speech (10 Dec 1963) at the Nobel Banquet in Stockholm, Sweden. Collected inGφran Liljestrand (ed.), Les Prix Nobel en 1963, (1964).
Science quotes on:  |  Continuity (38)  |  Emphasize (23)  |  Nobel Prize (40)  |  Alfred Bernhard Nobel (16)  |  Novelty (29)  |  Pleased (3)  |  Science (3879)  |  Think (1086)

In neurophysiology we have none of those vast tidal waves of discovery which shake the world to its foundations and which have such incalculable consequences for good or evil.
— Sir Alan Hodgkin
From Speech (10 Dec 1963) at the Nobel Banquet in Stockholm, Sweden. Collected inGφran Liljestrand (ed.), Les Prix Nobel en 1963, (1964).
Science quotes on:  |  Consequence (203)  |  Discovery (780)  |  Evil (116)  |  Foundation (171)  |  Good (889)  |  Incalculable (3)  |  Neurophysiology (2)  |  Shake (41)  |  Tidal Wave (2)  |  Vast (177)  |  Wave (107)  |  World (1774)

Nervous messages are invariably associated with an electrical change known as the action potential. This potential is generally believed to arise at a membrane which is situated between the axoplasm and the external medium. If this theory is correct, it should be possible to record the action potential between an electrode inside a nerve fibre and the conducting fluid outside it. Most nerve fibres are too small for this to be tested directly, but we have recently succeeded in inserting micro-electrodes into the giant axons of squids (Loligo forbesi).
Co-author with Andrew Aelding Huxley, British physiologist, (1917- ).
— Sir Alan Hodgkin
'Action Potentials Recorded from Inside a Nerve Fibre', Nature (1939), 144, 710.
Science quotes on:  |  Action (327)  |  Arise (158)  |  Author (167)  |  British (41)  |  Change (593)  |  Electrical (57)  |  Fluid (51)  |  Giant (67)  |  Invariably (35)  |  Known (454)  |  Membrane (21)  |  Message (49)  |  Most (1731)  |  Nerve (79)  |  Outside (141)  |  Physiologist (29)  |  Possible (552)  |  Potential (69)  |  Record (154)  |  Small (477)  |  Squid (3)  |  Succeed (109)  |  Test (211)  |  Theory (970)

One of the many useful properties of giant nerve fibres is that samples of protoplasm or axoplasm as it is usually called can be obtained by squeezing out the contents from a cut end … As in many other cells there is a high concentration of potassium ions and relatively low concentration of sodium and chloride ions. This is the reverse of the situation in the animals’ blood or in sea water, where sodium and chloride are the dominant ions and potassium is relatively dilute.
— Sir Alan Hodgkin
The Conduction of the Nervous Impulse (1964), 27.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (617)  |  Blood (134)  |  Call (769)  |  Cell (138)  |  Concentration (29)  |  Cut (114)  |  Dominant (26)  |  End (590)  |  Giant (67)  |  High (362)  |  Ion (21)  |  Low (80)  |  Nerve (79)  |  Obtain (163)  |  Other (2236)  |  Potassium (11)  |  Protoplasm (13)  |  Reverse (33)  |  Sample (19)  |  Sea (308)  |  Situation (113)  |  Sodium (14)  |  Useful (250)  |  Usually (176)  |  Water (481)

Research in neurophysiology is much more like paddling a small canoe on a mountain river. The river which is fed by many distant springs carries you along all right though often in a peculiar direction. You have to paddle quite hard to keep afloat. And sooner or later some of your ideas are upset and are carried downstream like an upturned canoe.
— Sir Alan Hodgkin
From Speech (10 Dec 1963) at the Nobel Banquet in Stockholm, Sweden. Collected inGφran Liljestrand (ed.), Les Prix Nobel en 1963, (1964).
Science quotes on:  |  Afloat (4)  |  All (4108)  |  Canoe (2)  |  Direction (175)  |  Distant (33)  |  Downstream (2)  |  Hard (243)  |  Idea (843)  |  Keep (101)  |  More (2559)  |  Mountain (185)  |  Neurophysiology (2)  |  Paddle (3)  |  Peculiar (113)  |  Research (664)  |  Right (452)  |  River (119)  |  Small (477)  |  Sooner Or Later (6)  |  Spring (133)  |  Upset (18)

Some one once asked Rutherford how it was that he always managed to keep on the crest of the wave. “Well” said Rutherford “that isn’t difficult. I made the wave, why shouldn’t I be at the top of it.” I hasten to say that my own subject is a very minor ripple compared to Rutherford’s.
— Sir Alan Hodgkin
From Speech (10 Dec 1963) at the Nobel Banquet in Stockholm, Sweden. Collected inGφran Liljestrand (ed.), Les Prix Nobel en 1963, (1964).
Science quotes on:  |  Ask (411)  |  Crest (2)  |  Difficult (246)  |  Hasten (13)  |  Minor (10)  |  Ripple (9)  |  Sir Ernest Rutherford (53)  |  Say (984)  |  Subject (521)  |  Top (96)  |  Wave (107)  |  Why (491)

The zoologist is delighted by the differences between animals, whereas the physiologist would like all animals to work in fundamentally the same way.
— Sir Alan Hodgkin
Chance and Design: Reminiscences of Science in Peace and War (1992), 66.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Animal (617)  |  Delight (108)  |  Difference (337)  |  Physiologist (29)  |  Way (1217)  |  Work (1351)  |  Zoologist (12)

[William Rushton was] a man with great personal magnetism and considerable charm… [although] There were those who misjudged all of this as arrogance.
— Sir Alan Hodgkin
In obituary, 'Some Recollections of William Rushton and his Contributions to Neurophysiology', Vision Research (1982), 22, 614.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Arrogance (20)  |  Charm (51)  |  Considerable (75)  |  Great (1574)  |  Magnetism (41)  |  Man (2251)  |  Misjudgment (2)  |  Personal (67)  |  William Albert Hugh Rushton (4)


See also:
  • 5 Feb - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Hodgkin's birth.
  • Chance and Design: Reminiscences of Science in Peace and War, by Alan Hodgkin. - book suggestion.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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