Our present day understanding and methods of modeling neural excitability have been significantly influenced by the landmark work of Hodgkin and Huxley. In a series of five articles published in 1952 (Hodgkin, Huxley and Katz 1952, Hodgkin and Huxley 1952a-d) these investigators (together with Bernard Katz, who was a coauthor of the lead paper and a collaborator in several of the related studies) unveiled the key properties of the ionic conductances underlying the nerve action potential. For this outstanding achievement, Hodgkin and Huxley were awarded the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine (shared with John Eccles, for his work on potentials and conductances at motoneuron synapses). The first four papers in the series summarize an experimental tour de force in which Hodgkin and Huxley brought to bear new experimental techniques for characterizing membrane properties. The final paper in the series places the experimental data into a comprehensive theoretical framework that forms the basis of our modern views of neural excitability. For a discussion and review of these seminal papers, see Rinzel (1990).
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