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Charles Sherrington

Charles SherringtonAKA Charles Scott Sherrington

Born: 27-Nov-1857
Birthplace: London, England
Died: 4-Mar-1952
Location of death: Eastbourne, England
Cause of death: Heart Failure

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Doctor

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Neurons and synapses

Charles Sherrington won the Nobel Prize in 1932, shared with his friend and colleague Edgar Douglas Adrian, for their "discoveries regarding the functions of neurons". Sherrington himself coined the words 'neuron' and 'synapse', and said he envisioned the brain as "an enchanted loom."

By removing large portions of the brains of living cats, dogs, monkeys, and apes, he was able to show that neurons are connected through synapses, which had previously been only a theory. He studied under noted bacteriologist Robert Koch, and his own students included neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing and future Nobel Prize winners John Carew Eccles, Sir Howard Florey, and Ragnar Granit.

Sherrington also studied the spinal cord, perception, reaction and behavior, the pyramidal tract that connects the brain and spinal cord, and nerve supply for muscles. His remarkably complete Integrative Action of the Nervous System was for many years a definitive volume of neurology and psychology, held in respect comparable to Isaac Newton's Principia in physics. He is also remembered for what is called Sherrington's Law: For every activated neuron of a muscle, there is a corresponding inhibition of the opposing muscle.

Father: James Norton Sherrington (physician)
Mother: Anne Brookes Thurtell Sherrington
Father: Caleb Rose Jr. (stepfather, physician-archaeologist)
Wife: Ethel Mary Wright Sherrington (m 27-Aug-1891)
Son: Carr E. R. Sherrington (b. 1897)

    High School: Queen Elizabeth's School, Ipswich, England
    University: Cambridge University
    Teacher: Histology, King's College London (1883-87)
    Medical School: BA Medicine, Cambridge University (1885)
    Medical School: MD, Cambridge University (1886)
    Teacher: Systematic Physiology, King's College London (1887)
    Professor: Physiological and Pathological Research, King's College London (1891-95)
    Professor: Physiology, University of Liverpool (1895)
    Professor: Physiology, Oxford University (1913-36)

    Royal Society President (1920-25)
    Royal Society 1893
    Royal Medal 1905
    Knight of the British Empire 1922
    Order of Merit 1924
    Copley Medal 1927
    Nobel Prize for Medicine 1932 (with Edgar Adrian)
    British Museum Trustee

Author of books:
The Integrative Action of the Nervous System (1906, research)
Mammalian Physiology: A Course of Practical Exercises (1919, textbook)
The Assaying of Brabantius and other Verse (1925, poetry)
The Reflex Activity of the Spinal Cord (1932, research)
Man on his Nature (1940, philosophy)
Selected Writings of Sir Charles Sherrington: A Testimonial Presented by the Neurologists Forming the Guarantors of the Journal Brain (1940, collection)
The Endeavour of Jean Fernel (1946, biography)


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