What is Biophysics?

Is the term Biophysics new to you or confusing?  Perhaps you are unsure exactly what is biophysicists study or which innovative and exciting discoveries have been made using biophysics methods and techniques? That’s because it is a relatively new field!  Biophysics began as a scientific discipline in the middle of the twentieth century…….only sixty years ago!   To help demystify the subject and build your understanding about this important and ever growing scientific field you can visit the What is Biophysics? page for answers to these questions.  You can also scroll below for the who's who in biophysics.

What is Biophysics Week?

Biophysics Week is an annual event started in 2016 to celebrate and raise awareness of the field.  Attendees at the 2016 annual meeting discuss the inaugural week's events and why they are looking forward to Biophysics Week in this short video.

Profiles in Biophysics

No two biophysicists have the same story. The Biophysical Society’s Committees for Inclusion and Diversity (CID) and Professional Opportunities for Women (CPOW) selected eight outstanding biophysicists who represent the diversity within the field to highlight in 2016. Read about their lives and contributions to biophysics.  More profiles will be added in 2017.


Metals, Electron Transfer, and Signaling in Cells


Jacqueline K. Barton

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Doing Research at the Doors of Patagonia


Cecilia Bouzat

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Enjoying the Work


Sean Decatur

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From Ballet to Biophysics


Candice Etson

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Racing To the Finish Line With Cures For Neglected Diseases


Rommie Amaro

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DNA Double Helix and Beyond


Rosalind Franklin

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A Gentle Iconoclast


Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin

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Chasing Proteins to Save Lives


Marina Ramirez-Alvarado

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From Village Fool to Nobel Prize Winner


Ada Yonath

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An Elite Club


Taviare Hawkins

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The Nobel Prize and Biophysics

Biophysics research has been at the heart of the research that was the basis for several Nobel Prizes over the past 60 years. In some cases, the work was entirely biophysics, in others, a biophysicist’s research in conjunction with scientists in other fields has resulted in truly wonderful breakthroughs. Biophysics research has been honored with Nobel Prizes for Chemistry, Physics, and Physiology or Medicine.

Nobel Laureates who won for biophysical research:

Eric Betzig, Chemistry, 2014
Stefan W. Hell, Chemistry 2014
William E. Moerner, Chemistry 2014
Edvard I. Moser, Physiology or Medicine 2014
James E. Rothman, Physiology or Medicine 2013
Thomas C. Südhof, Physiology or Medicine 2013
Martin Karplus, Chemistry 2013
Michael Levitt, Chemistry 2013
Arieh Warshel, Chemistry 2013
Brian K. Kobilka, Chemistry 2012
Dan Shechtman, Chemistry 2011
Thomas A. Steitz, Chemistry 2009
Ada E. Yonath, Chemistry 2009
Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Chemistry 2009
Jack W. Szostak, Physiology or Medicine 2009
Roger Y. Tsien, Chemistry 2008
Roger D. Kornberg, Chemistry, 2006
Roderick MacKinnon, Chemistry 2003
Paul C. Lauterbur, Physiology or Medicine 2003
Robert Horvitz, Physiology or Medicine 2002 H.
Kurt Wüthrich, Chemistry 2002
Paul Greengard (PHD in biophysics), Physiology or Medicine 2000
Paul D. Boyer, Chemistry 1997
John E. Walker, Chemistry 1997
Steven Chu, Physics 1997
Martin Rodbell, Physiology or Medicine 1994
Michael Smith, Chemistry 1993
Richard R. Ernst, Chemistry 1991
Erwin Neher, Physiology or Medicine 1991
Aaron Klug, Chemistry 1982
Walter Gilbert, Chemistry 1980
Frederick Sanger, Chemistry 1980 and 1958
Gerald M. Edelman, Physiology or Medicine 1972
Rodney R. Porter, Physiology or Medicine 1972
Christian B. Anfinsen, Chemistry 1972
Stanford Moore, Chemistry 1972
William H. Stein, Chemistry 1972
Robert W. Holley, Physiology or Medicine 1968
Har Gobind Khorana, Physiology or Medicine 1968
Marshall W. Nirenberg, Physiology or Medicine 1968
Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, Chemistry 1964
Max Ferdinand Perutz, Chemistry 1962
John Cowdery Kendrew, Chemistry 1962