"Kacy" Cole

Kenneth Stewart Cole (July 10,1900 - April 18, 1984) was affectionately known as "Kacy" by his colleagues and friends. Others, hearing this nickname, assumed that this stood for his initials and refer to him as K. C. Cole. Here is a photo of Kacy on his 65th birthday (a present to one of the authors, JWM, who worked with Kacy).

Kacy's most famous illustration shows simultaneous records of the action potential and the associated impedance change in a squid axon (with Curtis in 1939, J. Gen. Physiol. 22: 649). This elegant figure is known internationally and is widely used.

For example, it is the logo for the Membrane Biophysics Group of the Biophysical Society and is on its K. S. Cole Award medal.

And Kacy loved to brag that it appeared, rotated 90 degrees as below, in Swedish apartments as modern art!

Kacy Cole's work extended over decades and is summarized in memoirs entitled Membranes, Ions, and Impulses (1968, Univ. of California Press). Kacy was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor by President Lyndon B. Johnson. In the cover photograph of Scientific Research he stands to Johnson's left. (Behind Kacy is Jesse Beams of the Physics Department of the University of Virginia, who was JWM's mentor for his Ph.D. degree.)