Charles Scott Sherrington bigraphy, stories - English neurophysiologist, histologist, bacteriologist, and a pathologist

Charles Scott Sherrington : biography

27 November 1857 - 4 March 1952

Sir Charles Scott Sherrington, OM, GBE, PRS (27 November 1857 – 4 March 1952) was an English neurophysiologist, histologist, bacteriologist, and a pathologist, Nobel laureate and president of the Royal Society in the early 1920s. He received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian, in 1932 for their work on the functions of neurons. Prior to the work of Sherrington and Adrian, it was widely accepted that reflexes occurred as isolated activity within a reflex arc. Sherrington received the prize for showing that reflexes require integrated activation and demonstrated reciprocal innervation of muscles (Sherrington's Law).

Honours and awards

  • 1899 Baly Gold Medal of the Royal College of Physicians of London
  • 1905 Royal Medal of the Royal Society of London
  • 1922 Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
  • 1924 Order of Merit
  • 1932 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine

At the time of his death Sherrington received honoris causa Doctors from twenty-two universities: Oxford, Paris, Manchester, Strasbourg, Louvain, Uppsala, Lyon, Budapest, Athens, London, Toronto, Harvard, Dublin, Edinburgh, Montreal, Liverpool, Brussels, Sheffield, Bern, Birmingham, Glasgow, and the University of Wales.


Liddell-Sherrington reflex
Associated with Edward George Tandy Liddell and Charles Scott Sherrington, the Liddell-Sherrington reflex is the tonic contraction of muscle in response to its being stretched. When a muscle lengthens beyond a certain point, the myotatic reflex causes it to tighten and attempt to shorten. This is the tension you feel during stretching exercises.
Schiff-Sherrington reflex
Associated with Moritz Schiff and Charles Scott Sherrington, describes a grave sign in animals: rigid extension of the forelimbs after damage to the spine. It may be accompanied by paradoxical respiration – the intercostal muscles are paralysed and the chest is drawn passively in and out by the diaphragm.
Sherrington's First Law
Every posterior spinal nerve root supplies a particular area of the skin, with a certain overlap of adjacent dermatomes.
Sherrington's Second Law
The law of reciprocal innervation. When contraction of a muscle is stimulated, there is a simultaneous inhibition of its antagonist. It is essential for coordinated movement.
Vulpian-Heidenhain-Sherrington phenomenon
Associated with Rudolf Peter Heinrich Heidenhain, Edmé Félix Alfred Vulpian, and Charles Scott Sherrington. Describes the slow contraction of denervated skeletal muscle by stimulating autonomic cholinergic fibres innervating its blood vessels.

Noted publications

The Integrative Action of the Nervous System
Published in 1906, this was a compendium of Sherrington's Silliman lectures, delivered at Yale University in 1904. In it, Sherrington expressed his theory that the nervous system acts as the coordinator of various parts of the body and that the reflexes are the simplest expressions of the interactive action of the nervous system, enabling the entire body to function toward one definite end at a time. He also pointed out that reflexes have to be goal-directive and purposive. Furthermore, he established the nature of postural reflexes and their dependence on the anti-gravity stretch reflex and traced the afferent stimulus to the proprioceptive end organs, which he had previously shown to be sensory in nature. The work was dedicated to Ferrier.
Man on His Nature
A reflection of Sherrington's philosophical thought. Sherrington had long studied the 16th century French physician Jean Fernel, and grew so familiar with him that he considered him a friend. In the years of 1937 and 1938, Sherrington delivered the Gifford lectures at the University of Edinburgh; these focused on Fernel and his times, and came to form the principal content of Man on His Nature. The book was released in 1940, and a revised edition came out in 1951.
Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine