Ferrier Lecture

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The Ferrier Lecture is a Royal Society lectureship given every three years "on a subject related to the advancement of natural knowledge on the structure and function of the nervous system".[1] It was created in 1928 to honour the memory of Sir David Ferrier, a neurologist who was the first British scientist to electronically stimulate the brain for the purpose of scientific study.[1]

In its 81-year history, the Lecture has been given 27 times. It has never been given more than once by the same person, and all lecturers have been male. The first lecture was given in 1929 by Charles Scott Sherrington, and was titled "Some functional problems attaching to convergence".[2] The most recent lecturer was Marc Tessier-Lavigne, who presented a lecture in 2007 titled "Brain development and brain repair: Molecules and mechanisms that control neuronal wiring".[3] In 1971, the lecture was given by two individuals (David Hunter Hubel and Torsten Nils Wiesel) on the same topic, with the title "The function and architecture of the visual cortex".[2]

List of Lecturers[edit]

Year Name Lecture title Notes
1929 Sherrington, Charles ScottCharles Scott Sherrington "Some functional problems attaching to convergence" [4]
1932 Kappers, C. U. AriënsC. U. Ariëns Kappers "Some correlations between skull and brain" [5]
1935 Loewi, OttoOtto Loewi "Problems connected with the principle of humeral transmission of nervous impulses"
1938 Adrian, Edgar DouglasEdgar Douglas Adrian "Some problems of localization in the central nervous system" [6]
1941 Bartlett, Frederic CharlesFrederic Charles Bartlett "Fatigue following highly skilled work" [7]
1944 Holmes, Gordon MorganGordon Morgan Holmes "The organization of the visual cortex in man" [8]
1947 Penfield, WilderWilder Penfield "Some observations of the cerebral cortex of Man" [9]
1950 Young, John ZacharyJohn Zachary Young "Growth and plasticity in the nervous system"
1953 Walshe, Francis Martin RouseFrancis Martin Rouse Walshe "The contribution of clinical observation to cerebral physiology" [10]
1956 Clark, Wilfrid Edward Le GrosWilfrid Edward Le Gros Clark "Inquiries into the anatomical basis of olfactory discrimination" [11]
1959 Eccles, John CarewJohn Carew Eccles "The nature of central inhibitory action" [12]
1962 Rushton, William Albert HughWilliam Albert Hugh Rushton "Visual adaptation" [13]
1965 Kuffler, Stephen WilliamStephen William Kuffler "Physiological properties of vertebrate and invertebrate neurological cells and the movement of substances through the nervous system" [14]
1968 Phillips, Charles GarrettCharles Garrett Phillips "Studies of a primates brain and hand" [15]
1971 Hubel, David HunterDavid Hunter Hubel and Torsten Nils Wiesel "The function and architecture of the visual cortex" [16]
1974 Feldberg, Wilhelm SiegmundWilhelm Siegmund Feldberg "Body temperature and fever, changes in our views during the last decade" [17]
1977 Szentagothai, JanosJanos Szentagothai "The neuron network of the cerebral cortex, a functional interpretation" [18]
1980 Barlow, Horace BasilHorace Basil Barlow "Cerebral cortex and the design of the eye"
1983 Iversen, Leslie LarsLeslie Lars Iversen "Amino acids and peptides: fast and slow chemical signals in the nervous system"
1986 Brindley, GilesGiles Brindley "The actions of parasympathetic and sympathetic nerves in human micturition, erection and seminal emission, and their restoration in paraplegic patients by implanted electrical stimulators"
1989 Weiskrantz, LawrenceLawrence Weiskrantz "Side glances at blindsight, recent approaches to implicit discrimination in human cortical blindness" [19]
1992 Westheimer, GeraldGerald Westheimer "Seeing depth with two eyes, stereopsis" [20]
1995 Zeki, SemirSemir Zeki "Behind the scene: an exploration of the visual brain" [21]
1998 Changeux, Jean-PierreJean-Pierre Changeux "The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and synaptic plasticity" [22]
2001 Lumsden, AndrewAndrew Lumsden "Patterning the embryonic brain"
2004 Cowey, AlanAlan Cowey "Magnetic brain stimulation: what can it tell us about brain function?" [23]
2007 Tessier-Lavigne, MarcMarc Tessier-Lavigne "Brain development and brain repair: Molecules and mechanisms that control neuronal wiring"
2010 Blakemore, ColinColin Blakemore "Plasticity of the brain: the key to human development, cognition and evolution" [24]
2013 O'Keefe, JohnJohn O'Keefe "cognitive neuroscience, especially on the role of the hippocampus, and the mechanisms supporting memory and cognition" [25]


  1. ^ a b "The Ferrier Lecture (1928)". The Royal Society. Retrieved 2 July 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Previous Ferrier lectures 2004- 1929". The Royal Society. Retrieved 2 July 2009. 
  3. ^ "Brain development and brain repair: Molecules and mechanisms that control neuronal wiring". The Royal Society. Retrieved 2 July 2009. 
  4. ^ Jacobson, Marcus (1993). Foundations of neuroscience (2nd ed.). Springer. p. 2. ISBN 0-306-44540-9. 
  5. ^ "Societies and Academies" ([dead link]). Nature 129 (129): 878–879. 11 June 1932. doi:10.1038/129878a0. ISSN 0028-0836. 
  6. ^ Moruzzi, Giuseppe. "In memoriam Lord Adrian (1889–1977)". Reviews of Physiology, Biochemistry and Pharmacology (Springer Berlin Heidelberg) 87. ISSN 0303-4240. 
  7. ^ "Sir Fredrick Bartlett (1886–1969). An Intellectual Biography". University of Cambridge. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  8. ^ McDonald (2007). "Gordon Holmes lecture: Gordon Holmes and the neurological heritage". Brain 130 (1): 288. doi:10.1093/brain/awl335. ISSN 1460-2156. PMID 17178743. 
  9. ^ "RSC: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada : Flavelle Medal Award". Royal Society of Canada. Archived from the original on October 14, 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  10. ^ "Guide W-Z". University of Bath. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  11. ^ "Medical News". British Medical Journal (1316). 1 December 1956. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  12. ^ "AAS-Biographical memoirs-Eccles". Australian Academy of Science. Retrieved 3 July 2009. [dead link]
  13. ^ Rushton, W.A.H. (1962). "The Ferrier Lecture, 1962: Visual Adaptation". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 162 (986): 20–46. doi:10.1098/rspb.1965.0024. 
  14. ^ Nicholls, John. "Stephen W. Kuffler August 24, 1913 — October 11, 1980 By John G. Nicholls". National Academies Press. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  15. ^ Porter, Robert (November 1996). "Charles Garrett Phillips. 13 October 1916 – 9 September 1994". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society (The Royal Society) 42: 341–362. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1996.0021. ISSN 1748-8494. PMID 11619335. 
  16. ^ Hubel, David (8 December 1981). 1981 Nobel Lecture. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  17. ^ "Oxford DNB article: Feldberg, Wilhelm Siegmund (subscription needed)". Oxford University Press. 2004. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  18. ^ Somogyi, Peter (17 September 1994). "Obituary: Professor John Szentagothai". London: The Independent. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  19. ^ "Lawrence Weiskrantz". Baylor University. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  20. ^ Ed. By larry r. Squire (2006). Larry R. Squire, ed. The History of Neuroscience in Autobiography 5. Elsevier. ISBN 0-12-370514-2. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  21. ^ "Art and Mind Semir Zeki". Art and Mind. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  22. ^ "News from Jean-Pierre CHANGEUX's laboratory". Institut Pasteur. Archived from the original on October 28, 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  23. ^ "News: Distinguished neurosciences expert delivers Ferrier lecture". University of Durham. 12 November 2004. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  24. ^ "Royal Society Events Diary". 15 March 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2010. 
  25. ^ "Ferrier Lecture". Royal Society. Retrieved 12 September 2013.