Maurice B. Visscher

20th APS President (1948-1949)
Maurice B. Visscher

Maurice Visscher's presidency was the first to be limited to one year by provisions of the bylaws. The same changes in the bylaws also provided for the first president elect of the Society and the last elected secretary.

Visscher received Ph.D. and M.D. degrees from the University of Minnesota (1925 and 1931). Between these degrees, in 1925-26, on leave of absence, he worked with Professor Starling at University College, London, on the "law of the heart" and cardiac oxygen consumption. Other academic appointments included the University of Minnesota, the University of Chicago, the University of Tennessee, the University of Southern California, and the University of Illinois.

In 1936 he returned to the University of Minnesota as professor and chairman of the Department of Physiology, a position he held for forty-one years; on retiring as chairman in 1968, he became Regents' Professor of the university. In addition to developing a prestigious department, Visscher was active in extra-university activities. He was president of the Board of Trustees of Biological Abstracts, president of the National Society for Medical Research, and secretary general of IUPS.

Visscher became a member of APS in 1927. He served on Council (1940-50) and as secretary (1947-48), as president (1948-49), and as member (1954-59) and chairman (1956-59) of the Board of Publication Trustees. He was the initiator of the Handbook of Physiology. Visscher was concerned with social issues in general, especially with areas involving civil liberties, and he had a well-deserved reputation as an effective and fearless activist.

Selected Publications

1. Brown, E. B., and E. H. Wood. Maurice B. Visscher. Physiologist 20(1): 1-2, 1977.

2. Fox, I. J. Maurice B. Visscher (1901-1983), scientist and humanitarian. Physiologist 27: 1-3, 1984.

3. Visscher, M. B. Musings of a physiologist. Am. J. Physiol. 159: 556-560, 1949. [Past president's address.]

4. Visscher, M. B. A half century in science and society. Annu. Rev. Physiol. 31: 1-18, 1969.

5. Visscher, M. B. A half century as a scientist-citizen. Physiologist 22(3): 15-21, 1979.