Gilbert Ling

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Gilbert Ning Ling
Gilbert Ling Head Photo.jpg
In 2001
Born (1919-12-26) December 26, 1919 (age 98)
Nanjing, Republic of China
Alma materNational Central University (B.S.)
University of Chicago (Ph.D.)
Shirley Wang Ling (m. 1951–2011)
ChildrenTim Ling (deceased), Dr. Mark Ling, Eva Monahan
Scientific career
FieldsCell biology
Cell physiology
Molecular biology
Cell membrane
InstitutionsNational Central University
University of Chicago
Johns Hopkins University
University of Illinois
Pennsylvania Hospital
Fonar Corp. Basic Research Dept
ThesisThe effects of metabolism, temperature and other factors on the membrane potential of single frog muscle fibers (1948)
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese凌寧
Simplified Chinese凌宁

Gilbert Ning Ling (born December 26, 1919[1]) is a cell physiologist, biochemist and scientific investigator.

In 1944 Ling won the biology slot of the sixth Boxer Indemnity Scholarship, a nationwide competitive examination that allowed Chinese science and engineering students full scholarship to study in a United States university. In 1947 he co-developed the Gerard-Graham-Ling microelectrode, a device that allows scientists to more accurately measure the electrical potentials of living cells. In 1962[2] he proposed the Association induction hypothesis, which claims to be unifying, general theory of the living cell, and is an alternative and controversial hypothesis[3][4][5] to the membrane and steady-state membrane pump theories, and three years later added the Polarized-Oriented Multilayer (PM or POM) theory of cell water.

Ling has carried out scientific experiments that attempt to disprove[6] [7] the accepted view of the cell as a membrane containing a number of pumps such as the sodium potassium pump and the calcium pump and channels that engage in active transport.

Early life and education[edit]

Ling was born December 26, 1919, in Nanking, China. He grew up in Beijing and entered the National Central University (Nanking University) in Chungking as a student of animal husbandry. After two years, he transferred to the biology department and received a Biology B.Sc. degree, minoring in physics and chemistry in 1943.[8]

In 1944, having done graduate work in Biochemistry at the National Southwestern Associated University (National Tsing Hua University) in Kunming, Ling won the sixth Boxer Indemnity Scholarship. In early 1946 he began his graduate study in the Department of Physiology at the University of Chicago under Professor Ralph W. Gerard. In 1948 he completed his Ph.D on the effects of metabolism, temperature and other factors on the membrane potential of single frog muscle fibers which was published in Dec 1949 in a series of 4 papers in the Journal of Cellular and Comparative Physiology, Volume 34, Issue 3.[9][10][11][12] He spent two more years under Prof. Gerard as a Seymour Coman Postdoctoral Fellow.

Academic career[edit]

In 1944, Ling won the only Biology slot of the sixth nationwide Boxer Indemnity Fellowship, to study physiology in the United States, which he took up in January 1946.[13]

From 1950-1953 Ling worked as an instructor at the Medical School of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. His research and experiments led him to the conclusion that the mainstream membrane pump theory of the living cell was not correct. This early embryonic version of the Association induction hypothesis was called Ling's Fixed Charge Hypothesis (LFCH).

From 1953-1957 he continued full-time research at the Neuropsychiatric institute at the University of Illinois Medical School in Chicago. Beginning as an Assistant Professor, he was promoted two years later to (tenured) Associate Professor-ship.

In 1957, he accepted the position of Senior Research Scientist at the Basic Research Department of the newly founded Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute.

In 1962 his first book entitled "A Physical Theory of the Living State: the Association-Induction Hypothesis."[2] was published. At this time Ling became director of a research laboratory at the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.

Ling in 1962 after publication of his first book

In 1984, Ling published his second book "In Search of the Physical Basis of Life,".[14]

In October 1988, Ling's laboratory shut down due to his inability to obtain research funds from National Institutes of Health and other funding agencies. Raymond Vahan Damadian offered to support him and two of his staff: Margaret Ochsenfeld and Dr. Zhen-dong Chen.[citation needed]

From 1982 to 1985 he was a co-Editor-in-chief of the Physiological Chemistry & Physics and Medical NMR journal and since 1986, has been its sole Editor-in-Chief.[15] In 1992 Ling published his third book, "A Revolution in the Physiology of the Living Cell."[16] In 2001 his fourth book "Life at the Cell and Below-Cell Level" [8] was published and has been translated to Russian and Chinese.

In 2011 his wife of 60 years, Shirley Wang Ling, died from incurable pancreatic cancer.[17] In 2014 at the age of 94 he published his fifth book, a reply to Erwin Schrödinger's 1944 book What is Life? called What is Life Answered[17] He has published over 200 scientific papers,[18] although much of his later work has been largely ignored by the scientific community.

Gerard-Graham-Ling microelectrode[edit]

Also known as the Ling-Gerard microelectrode and after the 1940s further developed into the glass capillary microelectrode has played a vital role in modern neurophysiology and medicine.[citation needed]

John Eccles applied the microelectrode to studies of activity of individual units within the spinal cord and brain and Andrew Huxley used it in muscle cells.

In 1963, Hodgkin with Huxley, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on the basis of nerve "action potentials," the electrical impulses which enable the activity of an organism to be coordinated by a central nervous system. Hodgkin and Huxley shared the prize that year with John Eccles, who was cited for his research on synapses.[19] Worldwide use of this new microelectrode spread rapidly after this[20] and has subsequently proven to be one of the most important devices applied to the study of cellular physiology.[21][22] The microelectrode in use today is essentially the same as this, except that it usually contains a concentrated salt solution, and is commonly referred to as the glass capillary.[23] In 1950 Gerard was nominated for the Nobel Prize for helping to develop the microelectrode as used in Electrophysiology.

Association induction hypothesis[edit]

An alternative and controversial hypothesis[4] to the membrane and membrane pump theories, the Association Induction Hypothesis[24] is a claim related to the properties and activities of microscopic assemblies of molecules, atoms, ions and electrons of the smallest unit of life called nano-protoplasm.[25]

Ling wrote books describing his hypothesis in 1962[2] and 1984;[14] and later self-published other books.[8][17]

Polarized-oriented multilayer theory[edit]

In 1965, Ling added his Polarized-Oriented Multilayer (PM or POM) theory[26] of cell water to the Association Induction Hypothesis. The theory argues that cell water is polarized and oriented and thus dynamically structured.

More recent studies by Gerald Pollack (2001, 2013)[27][28][29] and Mae-Wan Ho (2008, 2012)[30][31] have confirmed the structured nature of cell water and some scientists such as Vladimir Matveev (2012) continue to explore the ideas that Ling introduced in the 1960s.[32][33][34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fahnestock, Jeanne (2005). "Cell And Membrane". In Randy Allen Harris. Rhetoric and incommensurability. West Lafayette, Ind.: Parlor Press. p. 393. ISBN 1932559515.
  2. ^ a b c Ling, Gilbert N (1962). A Physical Theory of the Living State: the Association-Induction Hypothesis. Blaisdell Publishing Company, A Division of Random House, Inc., London. Archived from the original on 2016-02-04.
  3. ^ Ling, Gilbert (2007). "An Unanswered 2003 Letter Appealing on Behalf of all Mankind to Nobel Laureate Roderick McKinnon to Use His Newfound Fame and Visibility to Begin Restoring Honesty and Integrity to Basic Biomedical Science by Rebutting or Correcting Suspected Plagiarism in His Nobel-Prize-Winning Work" (PDF). Physiol. Chem. Phys. & Med. NMR. 39: 89–106.
  4. ^ a b Ling, Gilbert. "List of all known printed criticisms of the AI Hypothesis and their full rebuttal". Retrieved 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  5. ^ Harold, Franklin M (2002). "Book Review of Life at the Cell and Below-Cell Level: The Hidden History of a Fundamental Revolution in Biology". Cell Biology International. 26 (11): 1007–1009. doi:10.1006/cbir.2002.0948.
  6. ^ Ling, Gilbert (2008). "A Historically Significant Study that at Once Disproves the Membrane (Pump)Theory and Confirms that Nano-protoplasm Is the Ultimate Physical Basis of Life— Yet so Simple and Low-cost that it Could Easily Be Repeated in Many High School Biology Classrooms Worldwide" (PDF). 40 (1): 89–113. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  7. ^ Ling, Gilbert (1997). "Debunking the Alleged Resurrection of the Sodium Pump Hypothesis" (PDF). 29 (1): 123–198. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  8. ^ a b c Ling, Gilbert (2001). "About the author". Life at the cell and below-cell level : the hidden history of a fundamental revolution in biology (Original ed.). Melville, NY: Pacific Press. pp. 371–373. ISBN 0-9707322-0-1.
  9. ^ Ling, Gilbert; Gerard, R. W. (December 1949). "The normal membrane potential of frog sartorius fibers". Journal of Cellular and Comparative Physiology. 34 (3): 383–396. doi:10.1002/jcp.1030340304. PMID 15410483.
  10. ^ Ling, G.; Gerard, R. W. (December 1949). "The influence of stretch on the membrane potential of the striated muscle fiber". Journal of Cellular and Comparative Physiology. 34 (3): 397–405. doi:10.1002/jcp.1030340305.
  11. ^ Ling, G.; Woodbury, J. W. (December 1949). "Effect of temperature on the membrane potential of frog muscle fibers". Journal of Cellular and Comparative Physiology. 34 (3): 407–412. doi:10.1002/jcp.1030340306.
  12. ^ Ling, G.; Gerard, R. W. (December 1949). "The membrane potential and metabolism of muscle fibers". Journal of Cellular and Comparative Physiology. 34 (3): 413–438. doi:10.1002/jcp.1030340307.
  13. ^ Ling, Gilbert (2007). "History of the Membrane (Pump) Theory of the Living Cell from Its Beginning in Mid-19th Century to Its Disproof 45 Years Ago — though Still Taught Worldwide Today as Established Truth" (PDF). Physiological Chemistry and Physics and Medical NMR. 39 (1): 46–49. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  14. ^ a b Ling, Gilbert N. (1984). In search of the physical basis of life. New York: Plenum Press. ISBN 0-306-41409-0.
  15. ^ Ling, Gilbert N. (2001). Life at the cell and below-cell level : the hidden history of a fundamental revolution in biology (Original ed.). [Melville, NY]: Pacific Press. p. 368. ISBN 0-9707322-0-1.
  16. ^ Ling, Gilbert N. (1992). A revolution in the physiology of the living cell (Original ed. 1992. ed.). Malabar, Fla.: Krieger Pub. Co. ISBN 0894643983.
  17. ^ a b c Ling, Gilbert (2013). What is Life Answered. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-615-94793-8.
  18. ^ PubMed Documents by Gilbert Ling
  19. ^ Huxley, S. A. (2000). "Sir Alan Lloyd Hodgkin, O.M., K.B.E. 5 February 1914 -- 20 December 1998: Elected F.R.S. 1948". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 46: 219–241. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1999.0081.
  20. ^ Ling, Gilbert (2007). "History of the Membrane (Pump) Theory of the Living Cell from Its Beginning in Mid-19th Century to Its Disproof 45 Years Ago — though Still Taught Worldwide Today as Established Truth" (PDF). Physiological Chemistry and Physics and Medical NMR. 39 (1): 46–49.
  21. ^ NIH Summary Statement 1 R011 HL 39249-01 (April 30, 1987)
  22. ^ Ling, Gilbert. "Life at the Cell and Below-Cell Level About Author". Pacific Press New York. Pacific Press New York. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  23. ^ Romain Brette; Alain Destexhe, eds. (2012). Handbook of neural activity measurement (PDF). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 47. ISBN 9780521516228.
  24. ^ Ling, Gilbert. "Some High Lights of the Association-Induction Hypothesis".
  25. ^ Ling, G (2007). "Nano-protoplasm: the ultimate unit of life" (PDF). Physiological chemistry and physics and medical NMR. 39 (2): 111–234. PMID 19256352.
  26. ^ Ling, Gilbert Ning (16 December 2006). "THE PHYSICAL STATE OF WATER IN LIVING CELL AND MODEL SYSTEMS*". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 125 (2): 401–417. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.1965.tb45406.x.
  27. ^ Das, Ronnie; Pollack, Gerald H. (26 February 2013). "Charge-Based Forces at the Nafion–Water Interface". Langmuir. 29 (8): 2651–2658. doi:10.1021/la304418p. PMC 3883427.
  28. ^ Pollack, Gerald H. (2001). Cells, gels and the engines of life : a new, unifying approach to cell function. Seattle: Ebner & Sons. ISBN 0962689521.
  29. ^ Pollack, Gerald H. (2013). The fourth phase of water : beyond solid, liquid, and vapor. Seattle: Ebner and Sons. ISBN 0962689548.
  30. ^ Ho, Mae-Wan (2008). The rainbow and the worm : the physics of organisms (3rd ed.). Singapore: World Scientific. ISBN 9812832602.
  31. ^ Ho, Mae-Wan (2012). Living rainbow H₂O. Singapore: World Scientific. ISBN 9814390895.
  32. ^ Laurent Jaeken & Vladimir Matveev (Sep 2012). "Coherent Behavior and the Bound State of Water and K+ Imply Another Model of Bioenergetics: Negative Entropy Instead of High-energy Bonds" (PDF). The Open Biochemistry Journal. 6: 139–159. doi:10.2174/1874091X01206010139. PMC 3527877. PMID 23264833.
  33. ^ Matveev, VV (Jun 2010). "Native aggregation as a cause of origin of temporary cellular structures needed for all forms of cellular activity, signaling and transformations". Theoretical biology & medical modelling. 7: 19. doi:10.1186/1742-4682-7-19. PMC 2901313. PMID 20534114.
  34. ^ Matveev, Vladimir V (2011). "The Significance of Non-ergodic Property of Statistical Mechanics Systems for Understanding Resting State of a Living Cell" (PDF). British Journal of Mathematics & Computer Science. 1 (2): 46–86.


  • Gilbert N. Ling. A Physical Theory of the Living State: the Association-Induction Hypothesis. Blaisdell Publishing Company, A Division of Random House, Inc., London. 1962. 682 pages. Library of Congress Catalogue Number: 62-11835
  • Gilbert N. Ling. In Search of the Physical Basis of Life. Plenum Press, New York and London. 1984. 791 pages. ISBN 0-306-41409-0
  • Gilbert N. Ling. A Revolution in the Physiology of the Living Cell. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida. 1992. 378 pages. ISBN 0-89464-398-3
  • Gilbert N. Ling. Life at the Cell and Below-Cell Level: The Hidden History of a Fundamental. Revolution in Biology. New York: Pacific Press. 2001. 373 pages. ISBN 0-9707322-0-1
  • Gilbert N. Ling. What is Life Answered. Cushing Malloy Inc., Ann Arbor, Michigan. 2013. 120 pages. ISBN 978-0-615-94793-8

External links[edit]