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  • Writer's pictureNaoki Kogo

Bio-'physics'???

Updated: Feb 6, 2022

When I was becoming a university student in physics, I knew what I want to study was biophysics. But it was not a common concept. There were not many universities with biophysics labs. Even worse, when I tried to explain what it is to my friends, it was difficult. For them, biology is biology, physics is physics. They did not understand how biological phenomena which, in their mind, are chemical processes, can be studied by physics.

"Bio-'physics'?!?!" They always replied.

To me the idea, which I only knew naively back then, was already attractive, a (biological) soft system can be studied by physics. It sounds like a challenging but attractive idea. In fact, later I learned that Crick, Watson, Hodgkin, Huxley and many others had physics background.


Last weekend, I was invited to my friends for a dinner. They are a legend in vision science/computer vision research field. Older than me, but I am privileged that they consider me as their friend. At the dinner, somehow our conversation went to the history of Dutch science in biophysics. I was surprised, and pleased, that there has been a long tradition of biophysics in the Netherlands. Henk Spekreijse, Maarten Bouman, Henk van der Tweel, Adrianus Kalmijn, studying electro-magnetic field detection, photo detection mechanisms of retina, visual cortex, human visual system. Very nice to know!


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