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Faster & fairer - science & sport at King's College London

Jean Hanson

Jean HansonJean HansonMajor advances have been made since the 1940s in our understanding of how muscles work - insights that are absolutely central to the systematic improvements of athletic performance and which underpin the sports science of biomechanics, which investigates the effects of forces on the human body and upon muscle structures.

The biologist Jean Hanson (1919-1973) was one of the most influential researchers to have worked at King's College London.

Gosling and WilsonGosling and WilsonShe joined the recently opened Biophysics Unit at King's College in 1948 during a period of great excitement in this new field of science that applied physics to biological enquiry.

Her tenure at the Unit coincided with the groundbreaking X-ray diffraction analysis of DNA carried out there by Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin and Raymond Gosling.

With the help of colleagues including Hugh Huxley and Jack Lowy, she helped unravel the secret of how muscles work at the microscopic level, proposing the so-called sliding filament model.

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