(to read the full text of this statement of Denis Noble, former president of IUPS and author of several fascinating books like “The Music of Life” please click here)

Defining Physiology

Physiology is indeed an enormously fascinating discipline among the natural sciences. On many web pages of physiological societies around the globe definitions of physiology can be found, e.g.

Physiology is the science of life. It is the branch of biology that aims to understand the mechanisms of living things, from the basis of cell function at the ionic and molecular level to the integrated behaviour of the whole body and the influence of the external environment. (The Physiological Society)

Physiology is a broad area of scientific inquiry that focuses on the biological function of living organisms. Today, physiology could not be more important. In fact, physiology is essential to answering virtually every critical question facing us in our understanding of life, health and disease.( American Physiological Society)

The word “physiology” is originated from a Greek “physiologia, “ which means the philosophy of the nature, and thus studies the function and mechanism of the life. The target of our study varies from a single cell to the whole body, as well as from ion, gene, protein, cell, to human behavior. (Physiological Society of Japan)

Instead of defining physiology as a science, it is also worthwhile to express what it means to all of us, researchers as well as the public: Physiology is our ear on the pulse of Life!

Among the major features of physiology which underpin its unique position among natural sciences are its relevance for human health as well as its dedication to understand complex systems like organs or the whole organism. The cutting edge of physiological research is not only reflected in leading journals but also in physiological congresses around the globe. This is why IUPS is proposing to brand 2022-2023 international physiological meetings as part of The Year of Physiology. This is a unique opportunity for biologists, biophysicists or medical sciences (to name only a few) to update their understanding about modern physiology!