History of the CSDS

The Cardiovascular System Dynamics Society (CSDS) was founded on October 5, 1976 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during the second meeting of the Society.  To understand this anomaly, we have to go back to a rainy Sunday afternoon in April 1973 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where Abraham Noordergraaf and Jan Baan, then both faculty members at the University of Pennsylvania, were having a drink in the bar of a boardwalk hotel after attending a small cardiovascular conference.  Neither of them being satisfied with the narrow scope of that particular conference or with the massive congresses having many simultaneous sessions, Noordergraaf and Baan decided upon a serious attempt to create something more scientifically rewarding.  They wanted to include individuals trained in the disciplines of biophysics, bio-engineering, cardiovascular physiology, or clinical medicine whose research interests ranged from sarcomere dynamics to the control of the circulation.  Noordergraaf and Baan planned an international meeting, in which efforts they were soon joined by Jeff Raines, then at Harvard, who shared their views.  The meeting, by invitation only, was held in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, in April of 1975.  It turned out to be highly successful and came to be known as the first meeting of the Society (although the CSDS was not officially formed until the next year).  The papers of the Valley Forge conference, edited by Baan, Noordergraaf and Raines, were published by MIT Press under the name Cardiovascular System Dynamics, a book which still is considered by many as a standard work on the subject.

In view of the success of the Valley Forge meeting, it was decided to organize a similar but open meeting, to be held every two years, alternating between both sides of the Atlantic.  To insure continuity, the foundation of an international society was decided upon, to be called the Cardiovascular System Dynamics Society.  The proposal was approved by a unanimous vote of all those attending the next (and second) meeting that took place, appropriately, on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 1976.  It was organized by Noordergraaf and Raines, with European participation stimulated by Baan, who had moved to Leiden University, and Lex Arntzenius, then Chairman of Cardiology in Leiden.  Abstracts were published by Excerpta Medica, Amsterdam.

It was also at this meeting that two named Lectures were initiated:  the Witzig Memorial Lecture, named after Konrad Witzig, considered to be the first to solve the equations of motion of blood flowing through elastic vessels, and the Isaac Starr Lecture, named after the Emeritus Professor at Pennsylvania, for his contributions to clinical cardiovascular physiology.  Appropriately, it was Isaac Starr himself who presented the first Starr Lecture.

The Society was officially incorporated in the State of Pennsylvania in 1978, at which time the by-laws were formally established.  Because of legal requirements, the conference following the adoption of the by-laws, (i.e. the meeting in Miami Beach in 1980), is the first official conference of the Society.  For historical as well as practical reasons, however, the 1975 scientific meeting in Valley Forge is counted as the first of a series of conferences presently numbering fourteen in total.

The board of directors of the Society was to be constituted from investigators with a background in physical sciences and from those with a medical background, and from both sides of the Atlantic.  Accordingly, Abraham Noordergraaf was elected as the first president, Jeff Raines as secretary-treasurer and Jan Baan, Ed Yellin, and Daniel Kalmanson as officers at large.  The first board of directors served until 1980, after which new officers were chosen every two years.  Officers, conferences of the Society, and the named lecturers are listed on the following pages.

At the 1986 general meeting held in Zuoz, Switzerland, it was agreed that a category of Honorary Membership be created.  Isaac Starr and Abraham Noordergraaf were unanimously selected for this honor.


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