Teaching from classic papers: Hill's model of muscle contraction

Adv Physiol Educ. 2006 Jun;30(2):67-72. doi: 10.1152/advan.00072.2005.


A. V. Hill's 1938 paper "The heat of shortening and the dynamic constants of muscle" is an enduring classic, presenting detailed methods, meticulous experiments, and the model of muscle contraction that now bears Hill's name. Pairing a simulation based on Hill's model with a reading of his paper allows students to follow his thought process to discover key principles of muscle physiology and gain insight into how to develop quantitative models of physiological processes. In this article, the experience of the author using this approach in a graduate biomedical engineering course is outlined, along with suggestions for adapting this approach to other audiences.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Physiology / history*
  • Teaching / history*