Huxley, Andrew Fielding (1917-) is a British physiologist, a scientist who studies the functions of living things or their parts. He and his research partner, the British physiologist Alan Lloyd Hodgkin, won the 1963 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their detailed description of the transmission of nerve impulses. They shared the prize with the Australian physiologist Sir John Carew Eccles, who conducted separate research on nerve transmission.
Huxley was born on Nov. 22, 1917, in London. He was the younger half-brother of the biologist Sir Julian Sorrell Huxley and the author Aldous Huxley. Andrew Huxley received a bachelor's degree in 1938 and a master's degree in 1941 from Trinity College, a part of Cambridge University. In 1939, Huxley began research on the nervous system with Hodgkin, who had been his tutor.
From 1940 to 1945, during World War II (1939–1945), Huxley did research on gunnery. In 1947, he married Jocelyn Richenda Gammell Pease. They had six children.
From 1941 to 1960, Huxley held a series of academic positions at Cambridge, where he continued his research with Hodgkin. Huxley and Hodgkin showed that the transmission of a nerve impulse is an electrical and chemical process controlled by the outer membrane of the nerve cell. A momentary change of electric charge in the membrane, which affects the ability of certain ions (electrically charged atoms) to pass through it, makes up a nerve impulse. Huxley and Hodgkin reported their findings in a series of articles in 1952. In 1955, Huxley was elected to the Royal Society, the leading scientific organization in the United Kingdom.
Huxley was Jodrell Professor of Physiology at University College in London from 1960 to 1969 and a Royal Society research professor from 1969 to 1983. He was knighted in 1974. From 1984 until his retirement in 1990, Huxley served as master of Trinity College.