Skip to Main Content

Wilfrid Rall Archive: Pioneer of Dendritic Function and Computational Neuroscience

Wilfrid Rall (1922-2018)

Curated by Gordon M. Shepherd, with the assistance of Idan Segev, John Rinzel, Melissa Grafe, Phil Barello and Charles A. Greer. Special thanks to Mary Ellen Condon Rall, Madelyn Rall Badger, and Sara Rall, for donation of the Rall papers to establish this archive.
We invite other neuroscientists to consider donating their papers here or elsewhere to further a deeper understanding of the creative process in neuroscience.


Wilfrid Rall Research Notebooks (1962-1972)

Set of 11 volumes plus loose papers, which Rall used to record the day’s calculations and discussions, hypotheses, summaries of progress, and plans for the future. Provides unique insights into how Rall initially brought together many disciplines in creating the computational approach to analysing the functional organization of neurons and neuronal microcircuits as the basis for the future field of computational neuroscience.

Original volumes are accessible for scholarly study at the Yale Medical Historical Library. The volumes are currently in the process of being digitized. Contact Melissa Grafe.

Table of Contents

  • Vol. 1 1959. Early studies of dendritic branching.
  • Vol. 2 1963. Motoneuron dendrites; compartmental model development. With Kay Frank, Phil Nelson, Bob Burke, Tom Smith.
  • Vol. 3 1962-63. Start olfactory bulb study with Gordon Shepherd.
  • Vol. 4 1963-64. Models of mitral and granule cells; APs, PSPs, e.c. potentials. p.56. 8/24/64 Prediction of dendrodendritic synaptic interactions.
  • Vol. 5 1964-65. Olfactory bulb model. p.63. Eccles after dinner speech.
  • Vol. 6 1965 Jan-July. Synapse properties and models p.87. 3/15.
  • Finding of dendrodendritic synapses: Tom Reese and Milton Brightman pp.157-163.
    Reese & Brightman questions. p.191. 6/15/65. GS at NIH to gover paper. Science rejects.
    Submit instead to Exptl Neurology: Rall, Shepherd, Reese, Brightman 1966
  • Vol. 7 1965 August. Return to motoneuron. Rall wide consultation. p.8. 9/24/65. Per Anderson. p.22. 9/30/65. Eccles lecture.
  • Vol. 8 1965-67. p.6. 12/16/65 Four classic motoneuron papers. p.162. 5/17/66. Thoughts on a book. "Neuron Theory and Practice". p.130. 3/7/66. Reese consult.
  • Vol. 9 1967-68. Finally time to finish a full description of the dendrodendritic computational model. Rall & Shepherd 1968.
  • Vol. 10 1969. Dendritic spines. John Rinzel joins Wil.
  • Vol. 11 1969-72. Black note book: Rinzel and dendritic spines.

Scientific correspondence of GMS with Charles Phillips, Tom Powell, Wilfrid Rall, Tom Reese, and others

  • 1964-1965
  • 1966-1968
  • Miscellaneous

Scientific instruments used in the studies of Phillips, Powell and Shepherd (1963) and Shepherd (1963a, b) that were the basis for the electrophysiological studies modeled by Rall, Shepherd, Reese and Brightman (1966) and Rall and Shepherd (1968). Fabricated by Edgar Schuster, renowned instrument maker in Oxford, 1940s-1960s.

  • Headholder
  • Glass Capillary Microforge