The Biophysics Institute (Ibf) of the Italian National Research Council (Cnr) is the result of the fusion of five Cnr organisms interested in the understanding of molecular mechanisms in living systems, after the reorganization of the CNR in 2002. The headquarters of the Institute, originally established in Pisa, was moved to Genoa in April 2003. The units, distributed throughout Italy , which gave life to the IBF are:
- Istituto di Cibernetica e Biofisica of Genoa
- Centro di Studi sulla Biologia Cellulare e Molecolare delle Piante of Milan
- Istituto di Biofisica of Pisa
- Istituto per le Applicazioni Interdisciplinari della Fisica of Palermo
- Centro di Studi della Fisica degli Stati Aggregati, reparto di Biomolecole e Membrane Biologiche di Trento.
The mission of the Biophysics Institute is the quantitative study of the functional mechanisms of biological systems through biophysical techniques and multidisciplinary methods (physics, physiology, mathematics, molecular biology, chemistry, structural biology, computer science, biochemistry)
The definition of biophysics is fleeting and can be proposed in different ways:
1) “Classical” (the most politically correct):
The objective of biophysics is to shorten the distance between the complexity of biology and the simplicity of physical laws, discovering the functioning mechanisms of living matter and to analyze them with quantitative and formal approaches.
2) “Pop” (the most true):
Biophysics is what the biophysicists do (as arti is what the artists do).
3) “Dada” (our favorite):
Biophysics is the study of the fundamental laws of physics using the traditional materials and techniques of biology.