Detlev Bronk

Detlev Wulf Bronk (August 13, 1897 – November 17, 1975) was a prominent American scientist, educator, and administrator. He is credited with establishing biophysics as a recognized discipline. Bronk served as President of Johns Hopkins University from 1949 to 1953 and as President of The Rockefeller University from 1953 to 1968. Bronk also held the presidency of the National Academy of Sciences between 1950 and 1962.[4][10][11][12][13][14][15]

Detlev Bronk
Detlev Wulf Bronk
Bronk in 1963
3rd President of Rockefeller University
In office
Preceded byHerbert Spencer Gasser
Succeeded byFrederick Seitz
16th President of the National Academy of Sciences
In office
Preceded byAlfred Newton Richards
Succeeded byFrederick Seitz
6th President of Johns Hopkins University
In office
Preceded byIsaiah Bowman
Succeeded byLowell Reed
Personal details
Detlev Wulf Bronk

August 13, 1897[1]
New York City[1]
DiedNovember 17, 1975 (aged 78)[1]
New York City[1]
Alma materSwarthmore College[1]
University of Michigan[1]
AwardsFranklin Medal (1961)[2]
Presidential Medal of Freedom (1964)[1]
Public Welfare Medal (1964)
National Medal of Science (1968)[3]
Fellow of the Royal Society[4]
Scientific career
InstitutionsJohns Hopkins University[5]
National Academy of Sciences[6]
National Science Board[7]
University of Pennsylvania[8]
Rockefeller University[1]
World Academy of Art and Science[9]
ThesisElectrical conductivity, electrical potential and hydrogen ion concentration measurements on the submaxillary gland of the dog, recorded with continuous photographic methods (1926)
Doctoral advisorRobert Gesell


Bronk was a descendent of Pieter Bronck, an early settler to New Netherland from whose family name and relative Jonas Bronck the name The Bronx is derived.[16] Bronk graduated from Swarthmore with a B.S. in electrical engineering, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity.[17] In September 1921 Bronk married Helen Alexander Ramsey, who had been a fellow student at Swarthmore. Turning to physics, he received an M.S. in 1922 from the University of Michigan. By 1924 he was intent on applying physics and mathematics to physiology, receiving a Ph.D. in 1926 from the University of Michigan.[18]


When Bronk was offered the presidency of Johns Hopkins University in 1948, he accepted the position on the condition that Hopkins strengthen its program in biophysics. Hopkins did just that, building Jenkins Hall in 1950 specifically to house Biophysics and adding faculty and research facilities. Bronk believed the nation's universities had a responsibility to prepare students to improve the world, regardless of their academic curriculum. He also recognized that, during World War II, the Hopkins faculty had spent most of their time performing defense-related research, and now it was time to rejuvenate the idea of research for the sake of learning and discovery. He frequently spoke on "breadth in education," "fostering curiosity," and "a university is a community of scholars."[19]

In addition to guiding Hopkins through its post-war "demobilization," Bronk believed strongly in maintaining his own presence in the scientific community. He presided over the National Academy of Sciences and served on boards for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Science Advisory Committee of the Office of Defense Mobilization, and the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (predecessor to NASA).[19]

Bronk was also instrumental in reviving a plan to abolish undergraduate education at Johns Hopkins and turn Hopkins into a graduate-only institution. In 1952, as in 1925, the "New Plan" or "Bronk Plan" would have phased out the freshman and sophomore years and Hopkins would only admit students transferring from other institutions as juniors or above. These students would bypass the traditional undergraduate degree and begin work immediately toward a doctorate. As in 1925, the plan attracted little support from the intended student body and it was quietly dropped by the mid-1950s after Prof. Sidney Flax said "no".[20]

From 1953–1968 Bronk was president of The Rockefeller University. (The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research was renamed The Rockefeller University in 1965). He firmly espoused academic freedom and resisted attempts by Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy to have Johns Hopkins University dismiss Professor Owen Lattimore. The same year he was awarded the Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Sciences.[21] He was credited with formulating the modern theory of the science of biophysics.[22] Bronk was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon B. Johnson on September 14, 1964. He was also a member of the National Aeronautics and Space council. He was a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Brookhaven National Laboratories and a founder and President of the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS). He was also an advisory member of the Atomic Energy Commission.[23] He served on the board of trustees for Science Service, now known as Society for Science & the Public, from 1965–1967. Bronk is quoted as saying:

A great deal of undergraduate education is built on ... telling a student what to do—at the very time he is developing intellectual habits for life. Too rarely is a student told, "This is the problem with which we are going to deal. Here are the books."


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Ohles, Ohles & Ramsay: Biographical Dictionary of Modern American Educators, p.42: Greenwood Press, 1997. ISBN 0-313-29133-0
  2. ^ The Franklin Institute Awards. Retrieved on 2012-02-15.
  3. ^ U.S. National Science Foundation – The President's National Medal of Science: Recipient Details. Retrieved on February 15, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Adrian, L. (1976). "Detlev Wulf Bronk 13 August 1897 -- 17 November 1975". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 22: 1–9. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1976.0001. PMID 11615711.
  5. ^ "The Johns Hopkins University – Past Presidents". Archived from the original on February 12, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-12.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link). Johns Hopkins University
  6. ^ "National Academy of Sciences: About the NAS: President". Archived from the original on June 13, 2011. Retrieved 2010-04-07.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  7. ^ Educational Foundation for Nuclear Science, Inc. (February 1976). Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Educational Foundation for Nuclear Science, Inc. pp. 6–. ISSN 0096-3402. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  8. ^ History of the Penn Comprehensive Neuroscience Center. Retrieved on February 15, 2012.
  9. ^ History|World Academy of Art & Science. (December 24, 1960). Retrieved on February 15, 2012.
  10. ^ Lee, M. O. (1951). "Detlev W. Bronk, Scientist". Science. 113 (2928): 143. doi:10.1126/science.113.2928.143. PMID 17744817.
  11. ^ Greenberg, D. S. (1967). "The National Academy of Sciences: Profile of an Institution (II)". Science. 156 (3773): 360–364. doi:10.1126/science.156.3773.360. PMID 4886535.
  12. ^ De Duve, C. (1976). "Notes on the life and work of Detlev Wulf Bronk, honorary foreign member". Bulletin et memoires de l'Academie royale de medecine de Belgique. 131 (3–4–5): 176–183. PMID 798623.
  13. ^ Brink, Jr (1975). "Detlev Wulf Bronk" (PDF). Memoirs of the National Academy of Science. 50: 3–40.
  14. ^ Detlev W. Bronk Records, 1954–1968.
  15. ^ National Academy of Sciences Biographical Memoir
  16. ^,3204966
  17. ^ Grand Catalogue of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity (13th Ed.). Publishing Concepts, Inc. 1991. pp. 47, 567.
  18. ^ Bronk, Detlev Wulf (1926). Electrical conductivity, electrical potential and hydrogen ion concentration measurements on the submaxillary gland of the dog, recorded with continuous photographic methods (Ph.D.). University of Michigan. OCLC 17285634 – via ProQuest.
  19. ^ a b Frank Brink, Jr., Detlev Wulf Bronk: 1897-1975 (National Academy of Sciences), 1979
  20. ^ Fulvio Bardossi, "Dr. Detlev W. Bronk, President Emeritus of the Rockefeller University and Eminent Biophysicist, Dies Here" (Rockefeller University), November 17, 1975
  21. ^ "Public Welfare Award". National Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  22. ^ The Twentieth Century. 11 Alfred Newton Richards: Biomedical Research.
  23. ^ citation needed
Professional and academic associations
Preceded by
Alfred Newton Richards
President of the National Academy of Sciences
1950 – 1962
Succeeded by
Frederick Seitz
Academic offices
Preceded by
Isaiah Bowman
President of the Johns Hopkins University
1949 – 1953
Succeeded by
Lowell Reed
Preceded by
Herbert Spencer Gasser
President of the Rockefeller University
1953 – 1968
Succeeded by
Frederick Seitz
Army Science Board

The Army Science Board (ASB) provides advice about army science to senior military leaders. The ASB is a Federal Advisory Committee organized under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. It is the United States Department of the Army senior scientific advisory body that was chartered in 1977 to replace the Army Scientific Advisory Panel. The ASB provides the Army with independent advice and recommendations on matters relating to the Army’s scientific, technological, manufacturing, logistics and business management functions, as well as other matters the Secretary of the Army deems important to the Department of the Army. The Secretary of the Army delegates oversight authority to the Deputy Under Secretary of the Army, who appoints the ASB Executive Director. Terms are generally three years. The ASB is composed of distinguished individuals from the private sector, academia, non-DoD government agencies, and former senior military officers. Members are selected according to their preeminence in their respective fields, and are appointed to serve renewable three-year terms by the Secretary of the Army. Membership is carefully monitored to ensure that diverse disciplines and points of view are represented. The Secretary of the Army appoints the Chair and Vice Chair from within the ASB membership. The ASB Chair also serves as a non-voting observer to the Defense Science Board. ASB membership is augmented by a small number of consultants who are appointed to provide specialized expertise for ASB studies. The Board is composed of 20 voting and 20 non-voting members, each serving three-year terms, and consultants who serve one-year terms.

Benjamin Franklin Medal (Royal Society of Arts)

The Royal Society of Arts Benjamin Franklin Medal was instituted in 1956 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth and the 200th anniversary of his membership to the Royal Society of Arts.

The medal is conferred by the RSA on individuals, groups, and organisations who have made profound efforts to forward Anglo-American understanding in areas closely linked to the RSA's agenda. It is also awarded to recognise those that have made a significant contribution to global affairs through co-operation and collaboration between the United Kingdom and the United States.

The medal is awarded annually, alternately to citizens of the United Kingdom and the United States.

City Club of New York

The City Club of New York is a New York City-based independent, not-for-profit organization.

In 1950, The New York Times called the City Club of New York "a social club with a civic purpose" whose members "fought for adequate water supply, the extension of rapid transit lines, lower costs of foreclosure in private homes, and the merit system in civil service, [as well as] ... traffic relief, the prevention of juvenile delinquency." The City Club claimed that it inspired the creation of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and also fought for minimum wage laws, city parks, and playground programs.For 30 years the City Club of New York administered the Albert S. Bard Award for Distinguished Architecture and Urban Design, which not only conferred honors on top city buildings but also used the occasion to comment on the state of municipal architecture in general.


Detlev is a German given name. It is a variant of Detlef.

Franklin Medal

The Franklin Medal was a science award presented from 1915 until 1997 by the Franklin Institute located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. It was founded in 1914 by Samuel Insull.

The Franklin Medal was the most prestigious of the various awards presented by the Franklin Institute. Together with other historical awards, it was merged into the Benjamin Franklin Medal, initiated in 1998.

Frederick Osborn

Major General Frederick Henry Osborn (21 March 1889 – 5 January 1981) was an American philanthropist, military leader, and eugenicist. He was a founder of several organizations and played a central part in reorienting eugenics in the years following World War II away from the race- and class-consciousness of earlier periods. The American Philosophical Society considers him to have been "the respectable face of eugenic research in the post-war period."(APS, 1983)

Frederick Seitz

Frederick Seitz (July 4, 1911 – March 2, 2008) was an American physicist and a pioneer of solid state physics.

Seitz was the 4th president of Rockefeller University from 1968–1978, and the 17th president of the United States National Academy of Sciences from 1962–1969. Seitz was the recipient of the National Medal of Science, NASA's Distinguished Public Service Award, and other honors. He founded the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and several other material research laboratories across the United States. Seitz was also the founding chairman of the George C. Marshall Institute, a tobacco industry consultant and a prominent skeptic on the issue of global warming.

Herbert Spencer Gasser

Herbert Spencer Gasser (July 5, 1888 – May 11, 1963) was an American physiologist, and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1944 for his work with action potentials in nerve fibers while on the faculty of Washington University in St. Louis, awarded jointly with Joseph Erlanger.

Index of biophysics articles

This is a list of articles on biophysics.

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University is a private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1876, the university was named for its first benefactor, the American entrepreneur, abolitionist, and philanthropist Johns Hopkins. His $7 million bequest (approximately $144.5 million in today's dollars)—of which half financed the establishment of Johns Hopkins Hospital—was the largest philanthropic gift in the history of the United States up to that time. Daniel Coit Gilman, who was inaugurated as the institution's first president on February 22, 1876, led the university to revolutionize higher education in the U.S. by integrating teaching and research. Adopting the concept of a graduate school from Germany's ancient Heidelberg University, Johns Hopkins University is considered the first research university in the United States. Over the course of several decades, the university has led all U.S. universities in annual research and development expenditures. In fiscal year 2016, Johns Hopkins spent nearly $2.5 billion on research.Johns Hopkins is organized into 10 divisions on campuses in Maryland and Washington, D.C. with international centers in Italy, China, and Singapore. The two undergraduate divisions, the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the Whiting School of Engineering, are located on the Homewood campus in Baltimore's Charles Village neighborhood. The medical school, the nursing school, and the Bloomberg School of Public Health are located on the Medical Institutions campus in East Baltimore. The university also consists of the Peabody Institute, the Applied Physics Laboratory, the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, the School of Education, the Carey Business School, and various other facilities.Johns Hopkins was a founding member of the American Association of Universities. Over the course of more than 140 years, 37 Nobel laureates and 1 Fields Medalist have been affiliated with Johns Hopkins. Founded in 1883, the Blue Jays men's lacrosse team has captured 44 national titles and plays in the Big Ten Conference as an affiliate member as of 2014.

Journal of Cell Biology

Journal of Cell Biology is an international, peer-reviewed journal owned by The Rockefeller University and published by Rockefeller University Press.

List of Cornell University faculty

This list of Cornell University faculty includes notable current and former instructors and administrators of Cornell University, an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York.

Cornell's faculty for the 2005–06 academic year included three Nobel laureates, a Crafoord Prize winner, two Turing Award winners, a Fields Medal winner, two Legion of Honor recipients, a World Food Prize winner, an Andrei Sakharov Prize winner, three National Medal of Science winners, two Wolf Prize winners, four MacArthur award winners, four Pulitzer Prize winners, two Eminent Ecologist Award recipients, a Carter G. Woodson Scholars Medallion recipient, four Presidential Early Career Award winners, 20 National Science Foundation CAREER grant holders, a recipient of the National Academy of Sciences Award for Initiatives in Research, a recipient of the American Mathematical Society's Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement, a recipient of the Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics, three Packard Foundation grant holders, a Keck Distinguished Young Scholar, two Beckman Foundation Young Investigator grant holders, and two NYSTAR (New York State Office of Science, Technology, and Academic Research) early career award winners.

List of Phi Kappa Psi brothers

Phi Kappa Psi (ΦΚΨ), also called "Phi Psi", is an American collegiate social fraternity founded at Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania on February 19, 1852. There are over a hundred chapters and colonies at accredited four year colleges and universities throughout the United States.More than 112,000 men have been initiated into Phi Kappa Psi since its founding, and many have achieved recognition in their field. Phi Psis in public service include U.S. President and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Woodrow Wilson, over a hundred members of Congress (including 18 senators and Speaker of the House Warren Keifer), three-term New York City Mayor and Bloomberg L.P. founder Mike Bloomberg, successful entrepreneur Kevin J. Brown from Reno, NV,

over a dozen state governors, two directors of the Peace Corps, and "Wild Bill" Donovan, the founding director of the Office of Strategic Services (the Central Intelligence Agency's predecessor) and recipient of the Medal of Honor and of the Freedom Award. Academian Phi Psis include over a dozen university presidents (among these are Priestley Medal recipient Edgar Fahs Smith, and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Detlev Bronk), Rhodes scholars, and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Frederick Jackson Turner. Amidst the Phi Psis who have served in the military are dozens of generals and admirals, including "Father of the U.S. Air Force" Billy Mitchell, World War I Army Chief of Staff Tasker Bliss, National Security Agency director Kenneth Minihan, and three Judge Advocate Generals. In the arts, Phi Psis have received Academy Awards, Emmys, Golden Globes, Grammys, and Tony Awards. Journalist Sy Hersh has won the Pulitzer Prize, Orwell Award and George Polk Award. Phi Psi businessmen include Bank of America founder Orra E. Monnette, Dow Chemical founder Herbert Dow, PIMCO founder Bill Gross, and Yahoo! founder Jerry Yang. Three Phi Psis have served as presidents of the American Bar Association. Sportsmen include Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick, Olympic gold medalists including 7-time gold swimmer Mark Spitz, "Father of College Basketball Coaching" Phog Allen, NFL visionary Tex Schramm, and Commissioner of Baseball Ford Frick.An active member of the fraternity is a full-time enrolled student at his chapter's host institution at the undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate level; all others, including members who have graduated or transfer to a school without a Phi Psi chapter, are considered alumni. Men may be initiated into Phi Kappa Psi either by an active chapter, or as part of a colony that is being installed as a chapter. Members typically join Phi Kappa Psi when a chapter extends an offer to enter into a probationary period known as pledgeship, which lasts for six weeks and concludes with initiation.

Membership is normally only granted to men who are enrolled as full-time students at a chapter's host institution. There have been three exceptions to this:

1. Alumni of a colony which became a chapter after their graduation, and for two years after.

2. Men who have been of service to a chapter, but not students at the institution.

3. Honorary membership extended to men of prominence, a practice that was banned in 1885.

Lowell Reed

Lowell Jacob Reed (January 8, 1886 – April 29, 1966) was 7th president of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He was born in Berlin, New Hampshire, the son of Jason Reed, a millwright and farmer, and Louella Coffin Reed.He had a long career as a research scientist in biostatistics and public health administration at Hopkins, where he was previously dean and director of the School of Public Health and later was vice president in charge of medical activities. He was an Invited Speaker at the ICM in 1924 in Toronto. In 1927 he was elected as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association. As a researcher, he developed a well known statistical technique for estimating the ED-50, and his work with epidemiologist Wade Hampton Frost on the Reed–Frost epidemic models also remains well known. He died in Berlin, New Hampshire, in 1966.Lowell Reed attended the University of Maine, graduating in 1907 with a degree in electrical engineering. In 1915 he earned a PhD in mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania. This unusual combination of disciplines was put to use when he arrived at Johns Hopkins University in 1918, where he organized the Department of Biometry and Vital Statistics at the School of Hygiene and Public Health (now the Bloomberg School of Public Health) and was credited with coining the term "biostatistics". He became chair of that department in 1925 and, in 1947, was named vice president in charge of medical activities.Reed retired from the Hopkins faculty in June 1953, only to be recalled later that summer to serve as president when Detlev Bronk departed for Rockefeller University. In September 1953, he returned to Baltimore from his home in New Hampshire to accept the presidency, stating, "For 30-odd years, I have had a glorious time at the Hopkins. I owed it to the people there to return." Although he made it clear that he did not plan to serve indefinitely, he did not regard himself as a caretaker or interim president. He oversaw the end of the Owen Lattimore espionage indictments (all charges were dropped in 1955), and new construction on the various Hopkins campuses, while still keeping a hand in biostatistics.Reed retired for the second and final time in 1956, succeeded as president by Milton S. Eisenhower. Returning to his beloved New Hampshire farm, he again took up his hobbies of woodworking, painting, hiking and camping, and enjoyed an active retirement until his death in 1966. Reed Hall, a residence hall for medical school students and house staff on the Johns Hopkins medical campus, was named in his honor in 1962.

Majestic 12

Majestic 12 (or MJ-12) is a purported organization that appears in UFO conspiracy theories. The organization is claimed to be the code name of an alleged secret committee of scientists, military leaders, and government officials, formed in 1947 by an executive order by U.S. President Harry S. Truman to facilitate recovery and investigation of alien spacecraft. The concept originated in a series of supposedly leaked secret government documents first circulated by ufologists in 1984. Upon examination, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) declared the documents to be "completely bogus", and many ufologists consider them to be an elaborate hoax. Majestic 12 remains popular among some UFO conspiracy theorists and the concept has appeared in popular culture including television, film and literature.


Meast is an album by Mike Paradinas released in 2004 under his moniker "Kid Spatula." It compiles a selection of previously unreleased tracks written between 1994 and 1998, spanning two discs.

Rockefeller University

The Rockefeller University is a private graduate university in New York City. It focuses primarily on the biological and medical sciences and provides doctoral and postdoctoral education. Rockefeller is the oldest biomedical research institute in the United States. The 82-person faculty (tenured and tenure-track, as of 2018) has 37 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 members of the National Academy of Medicine, seven Lasker Award recipients, and five Nobel laureates. As of 2017, a total of 36 Nobel laureates have been affiliated with Rockefeller University.

The university is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, between 63rd and 68th streets on York Avenue. Richard P. Lifton became the university's eleventh president on September 1, 2016. The Rockefeller University Press publishes the Journal of Experimental Medicine, the Journal of Cell Biology, and The Journal of General Physiology.

The Journal of General Physiology

Journal of General Physiology is a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by Rockefeller University Press. The journal covers biological, chemical, or physical mechanisms of broad physiological significance. The major emphasis is on physiological problems at the cellular and molecular level.

World Academy of Art and Science

The World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS) is an international non-governmental scientific organization, a world network of more than 700 individual fellows from more than 80 countries. Fellows are elected for distinguished accomplishments in the sciences, arts and the humanities. The Academy strives to promote the growth of knowledge, enhance public awareness of the social consequences and policy implications of that growth, and provide "leadership in thought that leads to action". The spirit of the academy can be expressed in the words of Albert Einstein "The creations of our mind shall be a blessing and not a curse to mankind".

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.