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Annu Rev Physiol. 2007;69:1-18.

Life among the axons.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


A blink in history's eye has brought us an understanding of electricity, and with it a revolution in human life. From the frog leg twitch experiments of Galvani and the batteries of Volta, we have progressed to telegraphs, motors, telephones, computers, and the Internet. In the same period, the ubiquitous role of electricity in animal and plant life has become clear. A great milestone in this journey was the elucidation of electrical signaling by Hodgkin & Huxley in 1952. This chapter gives a personal account of a small part of this story, the transformation of the rather abstract electrical conductances of Hodgkin & Huxley into the more tangible gated ion channel.

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