Research Article | Published:

The Physical Nature of the Nerve Impulse*

Nature volume 131, pages 501508 (08 April 1933) | Download Citation



ALL our sensations, all our movements, most of the activities of our nervous system, depend upon a certain transmitted disturbance which we call the nervous impulse: this, in the study of nerve activity, is what the atom, the electron and the quantum are to chemistry and physics. A rapid reaction to events occurring at a distance is necessary for efficient working. Special nerve cells, therefore, have been developed in all the larger animals: from these the axon or nerve fibre runs out, which is only 3 μ to 25 μ in diameter but may be many metres in length. Along these fibres wave-like messages are sent.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

About this article

Publication history




  1. Search for A. V. HILL in:

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.