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[Neuroscience] Re: The action potential: Who was its inventor?

Francis Burton fburton at nyx.net
Mon Aug 1 16:24:10 EST 2005

In article <1122913408.533850.4050 at f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
 <tehgabriel at web.de> wrote:
>- Who developed the idea that neurons transfer information via spikes
>(spike sequences)? Is there someone who might be refered to as
>"father/mother of the spike theory"?

E.D. (Lord) Adrian was the first to demonstrate frequency coding,
in the 1920s.

>And even more basically:
>- Who was the first one to record (or more broadly: measure) a spike?
>And when did this happen?

Emil Du Bois-Reymond in Berlin, 1843. Time from nerve stimulation
to muscle twitch was measured in 1852 by Hermann von Helmholtz.
Conduction velocity of nerve alone was measured by Julius Bernstein
in 1868 using a device he called a "differential rheotome", which
is described here:
Bernstein later (1902) adapted the local circuit hypothesis of
Ludimarr Hermann (1899) to his "membrane theory" of nervous

I don't know who coined the term "action potential" but I suspect
it was some time after Du Bois-Reymond.

Regarding the "all or nothing" nature of the AP, refractory period
was first studied by Francis Gotch and Keith Lucas in Cambridge
around 1910.



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