Philip Bard

18th APS President (1941-1946)
Philip Bard

Elected to his second term at the 1942 APS Meeting, Philip Bard served as president for four additional years, because the austerity of World War II precluded meetings at which a successor could have been selected. At the last meeting (Boston, 1942) $5,000 from the Society's publication funds and from individual contributions were donated to the Royal Society for support of British physiological journals. Also the Society agreed to participate in the recruitment of "younger" physiologists to assist the U.S. armed forces. Both of these actions showed the Society's overriding concern for wartime contributions. No further meetings of the Society were possible until 1946, and whatever Society or Federation business was done by mail. Under these conditions, it was agreed that the "present officers" continue to serve.

Born in Port Hueneme, California, Bard received his higher education at Princeton (A.B., 1923) and Harvard (A.M., 1925; Ph.D. 1927). His doctoral thesis was supervised by W. B. Cannon. It is of interest that when only sixteen years of age he had obtained and read completely the 1905 edition of the Textbook of Physiology by W. H. Howell, the founder of the chair in which he spent his entire career. Before entering college he had served as a volunteer member of the U.S. Army Ambulance Corps in France during World War I (1917-19). After postdoctoral research activities at Princeton (1928-31) and Harvard (1931-33), in 1933 he became professor and director of the Department of Physiology at Johns Hopkins University, a post he held for thirty-one years. He was dean of the medical faculty from 1953-57.

Bard's scientific work was devoted to the functions of the nervous system, notably to brain stem involvement in emotional excitement, the vestibular system, and motion sickness. He made significant contributions in localization of function and in the conception of the "neural center," which had a profound effect on later disclosures of neural function.

Elected to APS in 1929, Bard's service to the Society included the Editorial Board of Physiological Reviews (chairman, 1950-53), the Board of Publications Trustees (chairman, 1959-61), and first chairman of the new Publications Committee (1961-62).

His colleague, Vernon Mountcastle, described him as "in his person tall and powerfully built, his features regularly formed in heavy granite, his eye a piercing, pale blue. He possessed great charity for the opinions of others, and avoided disputation; in counsel he was wise, modest, and persuasive. He radiated an ambient spirit of good humor, friendliness, and a fond concern for those about him."

Selected Publications

1. Bard, P. Limbic elements in the publication policies of the APS.Physiologist 6: 324- 327, 1963.

2. Bard, P. The ontogenesis of one physiologist. Annu. Rev. Physiol. 35: 1-16, 1973.

3. Fenn, W. O. History of the American Physiological Society: The Third Quarter Century, 1937-1962. Washington, DC: Am. Physiol. Soc., 1963, p. 8-9.

4. Mountcastle, V. B. Philip Bard, 1898-. Physiologist 18: 1-5, 1975.

5. Mountcastle, V. B. Philip Bard, 1898-1977. Physiologist 20(3): 1-2, 1977.