In Memoriam: Henry Arnstein (1924–2020)
An obituary for Professor Henry Arnstein, an early FEBS pioneer, has been published this week in 'The Biochemist' (a publication of the UK Biochemical Society), covering his research contributions and life story. His roles at FEBS are highlighted below.
Through positions held at the Biochemical Society, Henry Arnstein became involved with FEBS from its earliest days, attending meetings with representatives of other European Biochemical Societies directly before and after the formation of FEBS in 1964.
He made an important early contribution to FEBS as the originator of FEBS Advanced Courses, then known as Summer Schools, which, as he later wrote, hoped to ‘serve not only to give advanced instruction in new techniques and other developments but also to bring together young biochemists from all over Europe and thus encourage future co-operation’ (1) – aims still held, although a little broadened, by FEBS Advanced Courses today. The first course took place in June 1965 in Louvain, Belgium, less than a year after they were first informally proposed. He also set up the Advanced Courses Committee and served as its first Chair, from 1965 to 1967.
From 1968 to 1974, Henry Arnstein served as the second Secretary General of FEBS, bringing his ‘perseverance and thoughtfulness’ to a particularly decisive period of FEBS existence (2). He also supported the birth of FEBS Letters, realized in 1968, and, as one of its early editors, was key in the development of the journal’s innovative and successful format (3,4).
Henry Arnstein received the FEBS Diplôme d’Honneur in 1974. As highlighted in the Biochemical Society’s obituary, his remarkable achievements and steadfast European outlook were key to the early development of FEBS.
“From the beginning, Henry was an enthusiast … He truly was a founding father of FEBS.” – Professor William J. Whelan, 29 January 2021 (FEBS Secretary General 1965–1967).
These refer to parts of ‘Fifty Years of FEBS – A Memoir 1964–2013’, by Guy Dirheimer and Horst Feldmann, Wiley Blackwell, 2014
(1) ‘The First Ten Years of FEBS (1964–1973): Retrospect and Prospect’ by H.R.V. Arnstein, pp. 20–25
(2) ‘FEBS, the First Twenty Years (1964–1984)’ by M. Yomtov and G. Dirheimer, pp. 27–31
(3) ‘The Foundation and Early Years of FEBS’ by W.J. Whelan, pp. 9–20
(4) ‘The Early Days of FEBS Letters’ by S.P. Datta, pp. 255–257