In this lecture we will talk about the forces that create the membrane potentials essential to signaling in the nervous system.

After the lecture you should be able to understand the Nernst equation. You should know the main ion species, their distribution and their equilibrium potentials.

Textbook: Purves et al – neuroscience 3ed.


For further studies, I have included a link to several simulators that help you to understand the concepts – for now focus on the Goldmann simulator and the simulators for diffusion from the University of Chicago. Detailed instructions can be found in the linked ‘Instructions’ PDF file.

Lecture Material



Zip files with the simulators for download (so far only works on Windows – see instructions PDF) for the moment focus on the Goldmann simulator (flash required) and the UChicago simulator (which needs JAVA installed and configured). Once you have them running, refer to the instructions, but also just play with them and have fun.




Instructions for the Simulators