Edgar Adrian Biography, Life, Interesting Facts
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Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian, was an English electrophysiologist and a Nobel Prize for Physiology winner. Born on November 30, 1889, he won the Prize with Sir Charles Sherrington for the work on functions of neurons. Adrian, with an experiment, proved the evidence for the all-or-none law of nerves.
Early Life And Education
Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian was born in Hampstead, London, England on November 30, 1889, to Alfred Douglas Adrian and Flora Lavina Barton in London. His father was a legal adviser to a local government board. Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian received his education at Westminster School and after graduation enrolled at the Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied Natural Sciences. He graduated in 1911. Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian was elected to a Fellowship of Trinity College I 1913, for his research into "all or none" law of nerves.
In 1915, Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian received his medical degree and continued with his medical clinical work at the St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London in the era of the World War I. With this, Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian had to treat soldiers with nerve damage and nervous disorder including for shell shock.
After the war, Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian joined the University of Cambridge as a lecturer. In 1925, he started his research works into human sensory organs by electrical methods. Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian became a Foulerton Professor from 1929 to 1937. In 1937, Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian became a Professor of Physiology at Cambridge University until 1951. Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian was appointed the President of the Royal Society from 1950 until 1955 and from 1951 to 1965, was a Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. From 1960 to 1962, he served as the president of the Royal Society of Medicine. At the University of Leicester, Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian became the Chancellor from 1957 until 1971. Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian was also a Chancellor of the University of Cambridge from 1967 until 1975.
Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian worked on an earlier study of Keith Lucas by using a capillary electrometer and cathode ray tube to increase the signals transmitted from the nervous system. Through this procedure, Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian could record the electrical discharge of single nerve fiber under the physical stimulus. In 1928, Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian accidentally discovered and proved the existence of electricity in the nerve cells.
After the discovery, Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian stated, "I had arranged electrodes on the optic nerve of a toad in connection with some experiments on the retina. The room was nearly dark, and I was puzzled to hear repeated noises in the loudspeaker attached to the amplifier, noises indicating that a great deal of impulse activity was going on. It was not until I compared the noises with my own movements around the room that I realized I was in the field of vision of the toad's eye and that it was signaling what I was doing."
In 1928, Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian published the results of his work stating that the excitation of the skin under constant stimulus remains strong at the initial stage but decreases as time goes on, however, the sensory impulses along the nerves have constant strength from a point of contact but reduces in frequency with time, and this eliminates the sensation in the brain.
Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian used his results to research into pain caused by the stimulus of the nervous system. With this, he also discovered the reception of such signals in the brain and spatial distribution of the sensory areas of the cerebral cortex in different animals. This resulted in the knowledge of the sensory map, name the homunculus, in the somatosensory system. Using the electroencephalogram, Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian delved into the study of electrical activities of the brain in humans. His research won him the Nobel Prize in Physiology, which he shared with Sir Charles Sherrington. Adrian spent most of his later research career on olfaction.
Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian was married to Hester Agnes Pinsent on June 14, 1923. The couple had three children including a twin namely Anne Pinsent Adrian, Richard Hune Adrian, 2nd Baron Adrian and Jennet Adrian. He died on August 4, 1977.
Awards And Honours
In 1938, Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian was elected a Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and also became a Foreign Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1946. Adrian was awarded membership of the Order of Merit in 1942 and in 1955, was created Baron Adrian, of Cambridge in the County of Cambridge.