Biophysics is a relatively young discipline (1960) but its origins go back a long way. Basic biophysics concepts can be detected as far back as the mid-nineteenth century, at the Berlin Physiology School, if not earlier still, in the eighteenth-century British Physiology School (Cavendish, Walsh). Biophysics might even be seen as dating back to the times of Volta and Galvani.
The popularity of biophysics rose sharply in 1944 when the book “What is life” by Erwin Schrodinger (1933 nobel prize for physics) was published.
By 1950, as many as 200 institutions throughout the world had adopted the term Biophysics in their name. The American Biophysics Society was founded in 1957.
The year 1961 saw the International Biophysics Congress, held in Stockholm and then repeated in Vienna in 1965 and in Cambridge in 1969. Italy was an active member of the congress and sponsored the establishment of the International Union for Pure and Applied Biophysics (IUPAB).
In Italy, the new discipline was initially promoted by three world-leading scientists: Antonino Borsellino in Genoa, Adriano Gozzini in Pisa and Mario Ageno in Rome.
In 1959 a series of conferences on Bio-Physics and Bio-Chemistry was organized in Genoa and in other cities. Back then, it was considered extremely novel for physics scientists to have common interests with medicine and biology scientists.
The establishment of the Italian Biophysical Society dates back to 1960. The first National Biophysics Congress was held in Italy from 3 to 5 June 1963.
The year 1973 marks the foundation of the Italian Society for Fundamental and Applied Biophysics, a IUPAB affiliate, whose first president was Prof. Borsellino.
NOTE. From the presentation given by Dr. Franco Gambale, IBF Director, at the twentieth national congress of the Italian Society for Fundamental and Applied Biophysics “The advent of biophysics and the Italian Society for Fundamental and Applied Biophysics"