Oscillographic recordings and tracings, 1940-1951.


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Oscillographic recordings and tracings, 1940-1951.



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Between 1943 and 1951 JE engaged in a complicated series of experiments using a cathode ray oscillograph. He and co-author Gordon M. Schoepfle reported their findings in a series of articles published in the 1940s and early 1950s. The last of these was Observations on the local response in single medullated nerve fibers (1951; a copy is in Series 7). The experiments involved various series of readings of electronic potentials and responses that measured and compared different stimulus strengths, durations, and patterns in the responses (described in terms such as hump heights, hump latencies, spike heights, spike latencies, etc.). The data are recorded in a series of forty-one 35mm film strips and in a series of files containing paper sketches, graphs, and notes. The series was not microfilmed. Exactly how the data on film and on paper were related when they were in JE’s possession is presently unknown. The film strips are the primary documents in his research process, having been recorded by a camera trained directly on the screen of the oscillograph. The files of paper documents most likely represent subsequent analyses of the film data. Yet only some of the files appear to have had film strips stored with or linked to them. The original folders unfortunately were discarded and with them any labels that JE and his associates may have written to guide in retrieving the data. All the same, it seems appropriate to keep the film and the files together as one series, with the order of the one determined by the order of the other. In approaching this material, one might initially assume that the dates marked on some of the film and paper documents would offer a more useful ordering principle than what follows, but on further analysis this seems not to be the case. The various types of results were evidently more important than dates to JE and his associates, who sometimes would review data recorded at various times over eight years and then would rearrange and re-annotate the findings in graphs (and thus dates entered are not necessarily the dates of the documents. Thus for example we find data from both 1943 and 1950 included in Box 30, Folder 6). Dates are nevertheless listed here as one means of identifying the data. Boxes 25, 30.

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Item description, Reference Code, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives, Washington University in St. Louis.

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