50 Years Ago
At the neuromuscular junction1, as well as at neuronal synapses2, calcium plays an essential and direct part in the process whereby depolarization of the presynaptic nerve terminal leads to release of the transmitter substance. It is also known that a nerve impulse releases the transmitter in quantal form, that is, in discrete multimolecular amounts of a fairly standard size... The question is raised whether other ions can replace calcium in this process and if so is the transmitter still released in quantal form?... Fig. 1 shows sample records from one experiment where calcium and strontium were applied simultaneously to different synaptic spots on the same end-plate... These experiments show that strontium can replace calcium in the process of transmitter release by a nerve impulse and that the transmitter is still released in quantal fashion.
From Nature 10 December 1966
100 Years Ago
Prof. J. W. Gregory, in his presidential address to the Geological Society of Glasgow, gave an account of the chief sources of the world's supply of phosphates, in the course of which he pointed out that an instructive lesson in the conservation of mineral resources was to be learnt from this subject. He showed that Britain has but limited supplies of natural phosphates, and these were being left unworked owing to the introduction of cheaper and richer products from foreign deposits.Prof. Gregory has done valuable service in again directing attention to our supply of phosphates, and it is clear that, from the point of view both of the natural and the artificial phosphate supply, the question is one of vital importance to our great agricultural interests.
From Nature 14 December 1916