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Muscle contraction. Part 1, The contractile process.

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About this work


The first part of a two-part lecture. The structure of the muscle fibre is reviewed, followed by an outline of the history of various theories of muscle contraction. Professor Huxley describes his own experimental work, shows film of muscle contraction under interference microscopy, and outlines the thinking that led to the development of the sliding filament theory of muscle contraction. The programme finishes with a summary of the mechanisim of force generation.


London : University of London Audio-Visual Centre, 1971.

Physical description

1 videocassette (UMATIC) (39.20 min.) : sound, black and white.
1 videocassette (1-inch) (39.20 min.) : sound, black and white.
1 videocassette (digibeta) (39.20 min.) : sound, black and white, PAL.


This tape is one of more than 120 titles, originally broadcast on Channel 7 of the ILEA closed-circuit television network, given to Wellcome Trust from the University of London Audio-Visual Centre shortly after it closed in the late 1980s. Although some of these programmes might now seem rather out-dated, they probably represent the largest and most diversified body of medical video produced in any British university at this time, and give a comprehensive and fascinating view of the state of medical and surgical research and practice in the 1970s and early 1980s, thus constituting a contemporary medical-historical archive of great interest. The lectures take place in a small and intimate studio setting, often face-to-face with the camera - testing the lecturers' abilities to integrate visual aids within reach. Some of the lecturers are telegenic and some are clearly uncomfortable with this medium.

Creator/production credits

Presented by Professor Andrew Huxley, University College London. Introduced by Dr Ian Gilliland. Produced by Peter Bowen. Research films by Professor Huxley in association with Dr R Niedergerke, Dr RE Taylor and Dr AM Gordon. Other film sequences courtesy of Columbia University Educational Films. Electron micrographs by LD Peachey. Made by University of London Audio-Visual Centre. Made for British Postgraduate Medical Federation.

Copyright note

University of London



  • English

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