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Richard Hume Adrian, D. L. 2nd Baron Adrian of Cambridge. 16 October 1927—4 April 1995

Andrew Huxley

Elected F.R.S. 1977


Richard Adrian was a distinguished electrophysiologist who cleared up many of the puzzles about the electrical behaviour of striated muscle. The situation in this tissue is exceptionally complex, both because the surface membrane is invaginated to form the transverse tubules, whose surface area is several times that of the fibre surface, and because substantial amounts of charge are carried across these membranes by processes connected with the turning on of contraction itself. Apart from his scientific work, he played an important part in the life of Cambridge University, as Master of Pembroke College for 11 years and as Vice-Chancellor for two. In the House of Lords, he contributed in an important way to the debates leading up to the new Act of 1986 governing experiments on living animals, and took a major part in the defence of academic freedom in the universities when it was threatened in the Education Reform Bill of 1988.

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