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September 23, 1961

Basic Contributions to Medicine by Research in Biophysics

Author Affiliations

Cambridge, Mass.

From the Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

JAMA. 1961;177(12):836-840. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.73040380001004

BIOPHYSICS is sufficiently new as a discipline so that one might wonder why this infant by name, not yet officially in its teens, can be thought of as already having made contributions to medicine. My audience well knows that biophysics the unnamed has made singular contributions, some of them in the near and far past, and that many of these contributions have developed within biology and medicine. This has been true of all fields when prior or contemporary developments of physical techniques have permitted a more advanced experimental approach to particular types of questions, for example questions concerning blood flow in the circulatory system and the origins of bioelectric potentials. Thus, it would be a mistake to chronicle contributions of biophysics to medicine as of the date of the formation of a society or the acceptance of a professional classification. (The Biophysical Society [U.S.] was founded in 1958 with