Antedating of "Biophysical"

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Dec 13 10:23:59 UTC 2010

OED has 1900.
> 1900 Lancet 30 June 1851/2   The staining reaction is also different,
> showing a bio-chemical as well as a bio-physical change.

A cite one year earlier is easily found:
The Microscopy of Drinking-water. By George Chandler Whipple. NY/London:
p. 14
> The physical condition of lakes, the currents, waves, temperature, and
> transparency of water, the chemistry of water, the life-history of
> organisms, and various bio-chemical and bio-physical problems are more
> and more attracting the attention of scientists and of water-works
> engineers.

Yet earlier is another, but it required a very small bit of
sleuthing--while "biophysical" is found in the index (p. 958), the
actual location of the article does not appear in GB. Still, the index,
of course, is a sufficient pointer to the right spot.
Medical Record. April 30, 1898
p. 620 [Title]

More importantly, this serves as a reminder that many "compounds" of
this sort used to exist with a hyphen (often exclusively so, for long
periods of time). This also explains why OED has "biophysics" to 1892
and "biophysicist" to 1860. It makes little sense (to me) that either of
these would predate "biophysical".

Sure enough, inserting the hyphen pushes back the boundary, if only by a
couple of years.
Long Life. [Conducted by] C[harles] A[sbury] Stephens. Volume 2. Norway
Lake, Maine: 1896
pp. 8-9
> When we ask the question broadly, why does the human body grow old and
> at length cease from function, putting the inquiry inthe bio-physical
> sense, the answer is that the personal life embodied in the organism
> is at length overcome and overmatched by the totality of the
> resistance to life which it encounters, from the embryonic stage onward.
p. 9
> We have, therefore, to picture this personal life as a bio-physical
> impulse which for a time rises superior to the resistance, then
> slackens and falls away to cessation.
p. 13
> Observations of the bio-physical effects where new hopes and new
> ambitions have possessed the intellect, from changed fortune, as
> showing a potential capacity for a more extended development of the
> personal life.
p. 60
> The microscopical study of living matter, from its bio-physical side,
> brings us at last to a solution of the enigma, and places the modern
> biologist in a position to speak with authority.
pp. 89-90
> In protoplasm, or the bio-physical state of matter, in which alone
> terrestrial life exists, and from which the evolution of life has
> taken place, there appears to be the demonstration of a great truth of
> nature, namely, that motion emanates outward from a sentient
> subjective impulse deep at the heart, the core, of matter; that all
> natural phenomena have a subjective source, primarily, albeit there
> are many intermediate correlations of that subjective impulse, ere
> what we first perceive as subjective takes on the aspect of objective.

Oddly enough, there is no clear further evidence in GB. So the earliest
date for "biophysical" is still only 1896, long after the early dates
for both "biophysics" and "biophysicist".

There several GB hits for "biophysicality" from 1995-2009. This word is
not in OED.


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