Message from President

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  • Message from President

  The Biophysical Society of Japan was founded in 1960, about 55 years ago, and it restarted as a General Incorporated Association in January 2014. Since I became a member of this Society when I was a graduate student, my own scientific activities have always been achieved in the Society. For two years from 27 June 2015, I work as the President of the Society in charge of promotion and development of the Society and biophysics.
  To a question, “What is biophysics?”, each of about 3000 members the Society may have his or her own answer. However, the common consensus could be that “The purpose of biophysics is to reveal physical basis of biological materials”. Namely, biophysics is “Science to get rational understanding for biological phenomena”. Therefore, the members are not necessarily attributed to physics or physics-relating departments, or they have not necessarily graduated physics departments. Rather, if their purposes or approaches match the above definition, their studies can be identified as biophysical research, and more and more new approaches should be performed for rational understanding of biological phenomena.
  As mentioned in my recent Preface of Seibutsubutsuri (pp. 287, vol. 53, No. 6, 2013), biophysics can be considered as science of “学不学: to study what have not been studied (by Lao-tse)”. Modern sciences have more or less the features of the “学不学”, different from theology in the medieval period when people learn what seemed to have been established. Among them, biophysics is a field, where original approach by every researcher is highly requested. In order to advance biophysics with the “学不学” approaches, diversity is essential: diversity in scientific fields, methods, and researchers (international and/or Japanese regions, ages, genders, and occupations). Biophysics with the “学不学” approaches should be matured only by appreciating these diversities, and we will welcome and respect the novel ideas, approaches, and theories by young researchers and those from different scientific fields.
  During my term of the presidentship, I would manage the Society respecting the diversities. In particular, I would make my best efforts to arrange the scientific environments for young and women researchers. Of course, the Society should be cozy for the senior members. Under the globalized scientific environment, we not only invite overseas researcher to the annual meetings of the Society, but also members of the Society are expected to attend the overseas scientific meetings relating to biophysics through, for example, the IUPAB. The Society is going to support those activities in a sustainable way. In addition, we newly invite a council member of the Society from an industry, who is expected to commit to many issues about, for example, carrier paths of young members.
  In this year, we change the name of our English journal called as “BIOPHYSICS” to “Biophysics and Physicobiology”, so as to promote biophysics and the Society. Under the rapid trends to “open science”, many commercial journals have difficulties to survive. In fact, except a few top journals, each publisher has a hard time due to the negative spiral by decrease of the impact factor and the submission numbers, and increase of the subscription fees. However, because our journal is not a commercial one and it is not necessarily managed based on the purely economic principle, there may be an opportunity for our journal, Biophysics and Physicobiology, to become an outstanding international journal by a strategic management.
  Lastly, the Society as a General Incorporated Association should have much tighter contacts with the Japanese civil society and citizens. By using our Japanese journal “Seibutsubuturi”, we should promote biophysics widely to the civil society, so that we are no longer asked a question, “What is biophysics?”
  I would request collaborations and supports to the Society’s activities to the Council members, many committee members of the Society and all of the members of the Society. We would also appreciate supports from people in universities, research institutes, research funding agencies, scientific societies and relating industries.

27 June 2015


Haruki Nakamura, Doctor of Science
President, Biophysical Society of Japan
Professor, Institute for Protein Research, Osaka University