The Biophysical Society of Canada has evolved through a number of changes to reach the point it is at today. The field of Biophysics, loosely defined, has been an interest of the Canadian scientific community from early days. A movement begun by Abe Petkau at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), culminated in the early 1970’s, sought to bring together biophysicists within Canada into an association. The goals of the association would be to arrange scientific meetings on topics of mutual interest and perhaps to make the case for more funding for biophysical research in Canada. At the same time the International Council of Science movement was growing and the International Union of Pure and Applied Biophysics came into being in the mid-1960’s. The question of representation of Canadian biophysicists to the IUPAB was taken up by the National Research Council of Canada. The NRC estimated there to be 176 biophysicists in Canada in 1974. The Canadian biophysicists decided at that time to meet within the framework of the North American Biophysical Society’s Annual Meeting rather than form an association of their own. This arrangement continued for about ten years.
In 1985 this group of Canadian scientists decided that it should form a Society, the Biophysical Society of Canada (BSC), and it was incorporated in that year. The applicants were Don Chapman (Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton), Alan Groom (University of Western Ontario, London), and Ian Smith (then at the NRC Institute for Biological Sciences, Ottawa). The BSC decided to associate with the Canadian Federation of Biological Societies and to hold symposia at the annual meeting of the Federation, as well as specialty meetings as appropriate. By 1989 the BSC had about 100 members.
Representations were made by members of the BSC to IUPAB to hold the 1990 International Congress of Biophysics in Vancouver. The application was successful and Cyril Challice became chair of the organizing committee and Ian Smith chair of the program committee. The BSC continued to sponsor symposia at the Annual meeting of the CFBS but this arrangement came to an end as the scope of the CFBS meetings became more specialized. The BSC continues to send representatives to IUPAB and Ian Smith (now at the NRC Institute for Biodiagnostics, Winnipeg) served on IUPAB executive as President, and is currently in the post of Past-President.
In 2015, the Biophysical Society of Canada held its 1st Annual Meeting at the University of Waterloo, which was well-attended and boasted exciting talks from both national and international speakers. In the same year, the BSC launched its bi-annual newsletter due to its continuing growth and impact. Please join us at the 4th Annual Meeting in Vancouver from May 23-25, 2018 for another exciting event!