About the BBS

Our biennial meeting is the largest national meeting of the UK biophysics community.

Our biennial meeting is the largest national meeting of the UK biophysics community.

We aim to foster new biophysics talent in the UK, with awards and student bursaries.

We aim to foster new biophysics talent in the UK, with awards and student bursaries.

We represent UK biophysics as the adhering society to IUPAB and EBSA.

We represent UK biophysics as the adhering society to IUPAB and EBSA.

The British Biophysical Society was founded in 1960: “For the application of physical and chemical concepts to biological systems”. Today the BBS reaches around 500 members organising and sponsoring specialist events and a major biennial meeting along with prizes and bursaries to promote biophysics in Britain. The BBS is a registered UK charity, number: 254742.

The British Biophysical Society is committed to encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion among its membership and in its activities. Greater diversity is a fairer reflection of the talent pool available for the field of biophysics and creates an expanded network of ideas and collaborations, leading to greater development and innovation. Working to be inclusive helps us to ensure we have a thriving community. By facilitating an equal and diverse environment we will foster a sense of inclusivity which will benefit biophysics now and in the future. The BBS pledges to ingrain a spirit of active anti-racism at the heart of everything it does.

Joining the society is simple, click here to find out more.

Our data privacy policy is described here.

The committee

BBS Committee Members at the June 2023 meeting of the Committee at University of Durham. Left to right: Ehmke Pohl, Svetlana Antonyuk, Olwyn Byron, John Seddon, Tharin Blumenschein, Mark Leake, John Sanderson, Guy Grant. Other committee members were unable to attend.

Svetlana Antonyuk (University of Liverpool) BCA Representative
Olwyn Byron (University of Glasgow) Chair
Tharin Blumenschein (University of East Anglia) Secretary
Alex Chizh (The Francis Crick Institute) Student Representative
Peter Crowley (NUI Galway) Irish Area Representative
Ann Dixon (University of Warwick) Treasurer
Guy Grant (University of Bedfordshire) Education Secretary
Rebecca Farthing (King’s College London) Student Representative
Matthew Horrocks (University of Edinburgh) RSC Biophysical Chemistry Group Representative
Mark Leake (University of York) PoLNET Representative
Ioanna Mela (University of Cambridge) Publicity Officer Maxim Molodtsov (University College London & The Francis Crick Institute)
Ehmke Pohl (University of Durham) Membership Secretary
Alice Pyne (University of Sheffield) Newsletter Editor
John Sanderson (University of Durham) Meetings Secretary
John Seddon (Imperial College London) EBSA Representative
Anthony Watts (University of Oxford) IUPAB Representative

The committee meets three times a year, an archive of our minutes is kept on this website, as are the statutory rules of the society. If you would like to contribute to the running of the society, please get in touch.

Our history

Following a report from a Working Party on Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry initiated by the Council of the then Faraday Society of London. The first full meeting of the Working Party on 4th February, 1960 included D D Eley, L H Gray, A F Huxley, J C Kendrew, C F A Pantin, R D Preston, J T Randall, F J W Roughton and P M B Walker and a new Society eventually called “The British Biophysical Society " was founded: “For the application of physical and chemical concepts to biological systems”.

Its first meeting was held at King’s College (London) organised by Prof J T Randall. The birth of the BBS can be said to date from this inaugural meeting held on 19th and 20th December, 1960. The meeting took the form of two symposia on Comparative Studies of Muscular Contraction and on the Structure of Ribonucleic Acid, together with sessions for contributed papers. Minutes of the Steering Committee held on December 8th record that there had already been 183 applications to join the Society and 177 to attend the meeting. By the end of 1960, the membership totaled 224. At the King’s College meeting W T Astbury and A V Hill were elected Honorary members.

The first Steering Committee of the BBS, Dr J C Kendrew became the first Honorary Secretary and Prof D D Eley Meetings Secretary, and the Committee elected Prof J T Randall as its first Chairman and Dr P B M Walker as Honorary Treasurer. Other committee members were S Brenner, J A V Butler, A F Huxley, R D Keynes, R D Preston, J W S Pringle, F J W Roughton and J T Weiss.

It is clear from this roll call of committee members, in the early 1960s, that the British Biophysical Society embraced a wide range of topics in Biology. The first major scientific meeting of the British Biophysical Society at King’s College, London (on The Structure of Globular Proteins and The Function of Proteins) and a report on proceedings authored by Professor Freddie Gutfreund (one of the Society’s founder members), appeared in the journal Nature.

In 2007, BBS was the national society organizing the 6th EBSA/BBS congress at Imperial College, London, with Mike Ferenczi (London) as the local organizer and Tony Watts (Oxford) as scientific chair, attracting over 1350 participants and ~800 posters.

The 50th Anniversary meeting in Cambridge in July 2010, was a special meeting, not least that Venki Ramakrishnan was elected an Honorary Member of BBS, in the same year that he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his outstanding work on the ribosome, and giving a plenary lecture at the opening ceremony. He joins many highly distinguished Honorary Members of the BBS, including Aaron Klug, Andrew Huxley, John Walker, Sidney Brenner and about 40 others.

Records of the BBS’s meetings are held by the Bodleian Library.

Honorary members

2023: Gail McConnell, John Seddon, and Andrew Turberfield.

2022: Martin Caffrey, Christine Orengo FRS, Mark Sansom, and Sir David Stuart FRS.

2021: Elspeth Garman, Julia Goodfellow DBE, and Tony Lee.

2020: Steve Harding, Simon Phillips, and Alison Rodger.

2019: Chris Tate FRS, Cait MacPhee CBE, and Malcolm Weir.

2018: Anthony Watts and Rob Cooke.

2017: Richard Cogdell FRS, Paul Engel, and Andrew Miller FRS.

2016: Dennis Noble CBE FRS, Bonnie Wallace, John Helliwell.

2015: Tom McLeish FRS §, Eleanor Dodson FRS, Jane Clarke FRS.

2014: Alan Cooper, Helen Saibil FRS, Robin Leatherbarrow, Sheena Radford FRS.

2013: Carol Robinson DBE FRS, Athene Donald DBE FRS, and Gerald Elliott§.

2012: Hagan Bayley FRS and Michael Ferenczi.

2011: Gregory Winter KBE CBE FRS and Judith Howard CBE FRS.

2010: Fran Ashcroft DBE FRS, Chris M Dobson§ KBE FRS, Janet Thornton DBE FRS, Venki Ramakrishnan KVE PRS.

2009: Alan Fersht KBE FRS and Jean Thomas DBE FRS.

2008: Iain D Campbell§ FRS and John Squire§ .

2007: Jim Barber§ FRS, Timothy Bliss, Guy Dodson§ FRS, Gordon Roberts.

2006: Peter Bayley and Tom Blundell KBE FRS.

2005: Peter Knowles§ and Andrew Thomson§ OBE FRS.

2004: Louise Johnson§ DBE FRS and David Trentham FRS.

2003: Sydney Brenner§ CH FRS (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2002), Richard Henderson CH FRS (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2017), Olga Kennard.

2001: David Blow§ FRS and Kenneth Holmes§ FRS.

2000: Pauline Harrison CBE and Robert Simmons FRS.

1999: Anthony C T North and John E Walker KBE FRS (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1997).

1992: Edgar Adrian§ OM PRS (1st Baron Adrian, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1932), E Raymond Andrew§ FRS, H F Gutfreund§ FRS, Alan L Hodgkin§ OM KBE PRS (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1963), Andrew Huxley§ OM KBE PRS (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1963), Hugh E Huxley§ MBE FRS, Aaron Klug OM KBE PRS (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1982), Roger Pain OM KBE PRS, David Phillips§ KBE FRS (Baron Phillips of Ellesmere), Peter M B Walker, Douglas R Wilkie§ FRS, Maurice Wilkins§ CBE FRS, and Robert J P Williams§ MBE FRS.

1988: Richard D Keynes§ CBE FRS.

1982: Daniel D Eley§ OBE FRS, John Kendrew§ CBE FRS (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1962), Max F Perutz§ OM CH CBE FRS (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1962).

1981: Reginald D Preston§ FRS and John Randall§ FRS.

1967: William Lawrence Bragg§ CH OBE MC FRS (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1915).

1965: J D Bernal§ FRS.

1960: Archibald V Hill§ CH OBE FRS (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1922) and William T Astbury§ FRS.

§ deceased