Royal Society of Biology logo Archibald Vivian Hill Physiologist, Biophysicist Heritage Lottery Fund logo Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council logo

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Archibald Vivian Hill

Born
26 September 1886
Died
3 June 1977 (age 90)

Archibald Vivian Hill, known more commonly as AV Hill, was a British biophysicist and physiologist who received the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1922 for his research concerning the production of heat in muscles.


At the University of Cambridge from 1911 to 1914, Hill began to investigate the physiological thermodynamics of muscle and nerve tissue. He worked on the thigh muscle in the frog and demonstrated that oxygen is only needed for the recovery of the muscle tissue, and is not needed during the contractile phase.

Hill became a professor of physiology at Manchester University and at University College London he became a research professor of the Royal Society from 1926 until he retired in 1951.

Hill wrote Muscular Activity in 1926, Muscular Movement in Man in 1927, and Living Machinery in 1927.

Hill developed the mathematical equation, known as the ‘Hill equation’ for the uptake of oxygen by haemoglobin.

In the 1930s, Hill became actively involved in the rescue of refugees from Nazi Germany, and spoke out about social issues. From 1940 to 1945, he worked for the British Parliament as a representative at Cambridge University, and later helped the government of India in its scientific endeavours. Hill served on the Science Committee of the British Council from1946 to 1956 and was appointed Trustee of the British Museum in 1947.

During the second world war, Hill served on many commissions concerning scientific policy and defence, and was a member of the War Cabinet Scientific Advisory Committee. He was the chairman of the Research Defence Society from 1940 to 1951, and was appointed the President of the British Society for the Advancement of Science (now the British Science Association) in 1952.  Hill returned to research after the second world war and published papers on muscle physiology that are still cited by researchers today.

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