The ASBMB History Book

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The ASBMB History Book is now available for purchase.  This volume includes the entire history of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

On December 26, 2006, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), which began as the American Society of Biological Chemists (ASBC), celebrated its 100th birthday. This important milestone is an appropriate time to reflect on the Society’s origins, accomplishments, and future prospects as this volume endeavors to do. By any criterion the history presented here is a story of vision, hard work, and sacrifice by a very large number of dedicated people.

Starting with a modest group of 81 founders from North America, the ASBMB has grown into one of the most important learned scientific societies, with more than 12,000 members from around the world. The roots of the Society were in the American Physiological Society (APS), which had been formed several years earlier. Prior to the founding of the ASBC, the APS had provided the principal forum for the dissemination of U.S. research on the chemical aspects of biology. Indeed, it was the sense, most strongly espoused by John Jacob Abel of Johns Hopkins University, that this outlet was no longer adequate to serve the rapidly growing experimentation in this area, which led directly to the creation of the ASBC.

Since its founding and continuing today, the Society has numbered in its ranks an impressive cadre of scientists, who have often given freely of their time to promote and foster the Society’s various activities, which have in turn helped to catalyze the extraordinary advances in molecular bioscience of the 20th century. The Society’s development over the years is also extensively intertwined with that of the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), which was founded a year earlier by essentially the same individuals, and from a historic viewpoint the two entities are basically inseparable. Considerable overlap has always existed in the activities of the scientists responsible for the JBC and the Society. The cooperative endeavors of these dedicated individuals form the basis of a remarkable and ongoing story in the history of scientific investigation.

Erratum: The biographical information for Mildred Cohn in the ASBMB history book, “100 Years of the Chemistry of Life,” should have said that Cohn and Harold Urey studied ways of separating different isotopes of carbon; that Cohn received her Ph.D. in 1937; and that she was the first woman to be appointed to the Journal of Biological Chemistry editorial board. In addition, the award she received in 1987 was the “Distinguished Service Award of the College of Physicians.”