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According to the Biophysical Society, the history of biophysics can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans "who first developed tentative hypotheses about the physical basis of consciousness and perception." Early students in the field include Leonardo da Vinci, who investigated the mechanics of animal motion; Galvani, who discovered that electricity makes muscles contract; and Mayer and Helmholz, who investigated the relationships between work, heat, and energy. The field of mathematical biophysics developed in the early 20th century when researchers began studying the geometry of animal form and the chemical dynamics of cells. The field of molecular biophysics emerged near the end of World War II when atomic physicists began studying biological processes. Many biophysicists belong to the Biophysical Society, an organization that is committed to promoting the studies and research of more than 9,000 biophysicists working in academia, industry, and the government.

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