With one important exception, Professor Hanson spent the whole of her career at two Colleges of London University. She entered Bedford College, London, as an undergraduate in 1938 and remained there as a research student and then as Demonstrator in Zoology, 1944-48. In 1948 Sir (then Professor) John Randall invited her to join the staff of the Biophysical Research Unit which he was establishing at King's College, London with funding from the Medical Research Council. Professor Hanson remained at King's, becoming Professor of Biology in 1967 and Director of the Muscle Biophysics Research Unit in 1970, until her death in 1973. Her work at Bedford College is especially well-documented (See introductory note to Section B on p.4) and the laboratory notebooks in Section C span her work at both Colleges.
The only time which Hanson spent away from these two Colleges was the crucial period 1953-54 when she held a Rockefeller Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was here, in F.O. Schmitt's laboratory, that she began her collaboration with H.E. Huxley which led to the statement and testing of the sliding filament hypothesis of muscular contraction. (See Items A.2, C.10, C.11 and C.38.)
Hanson's method of work and her combination of meticulous analysis with enthusiasm can be seen in many sections of the collection: in the careful notes, regularly updated, in Sections B and D; in the annotations, ideas for research, comments on current and projected experiments and 'talking on paper' in the laboratory notebooks in Section C; in some of the extensive diary-like letters in Section F (see the introductory note to Section F on p.18); and in the multiple drafts and emendations to papers submitted for publication in Section G.
Summary of the career of Professor Hanson
1919 b. Newhall, Derbyshire
1930-38 educated Girls' High School, Burton on Trent
1941 B.Sc., First Class Honours in Zoology, Bedford College, London
1941-44 Research worker and teaching assistant, Bedford College
1944-48 Demonstrator in Zoology, Bedford College
1948-73 Biophysics Research Unit, King's College, London
1953-54 Rockefeller Fellowship, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1967 Professor of Biology, King's College, London
1967 Elected to the Royal Society
1970-73 Director, Muscle Biophysics Research Unit, King's College, London