The journal Biomaterials was launched in 1980. The subject of biomaterials science was then in its infancy, being largely confined to the study of the characteristics of materials used for medical devices. In reality, few of those materials had ever been developed for this specific use and instead, were taken from other industrial applications, for example in aerospace, nuclear engineering or chemical processing, and experimented with in surgical or medical procedures. The science was largely observational, as the performance of these materials in their new surroundings was evaluated by combinations of physical, chemical, engineering, biological, pathological and clinical techniques.Over the ensuing decade, the subject evolved, as more became known about their performance and especially about the mechanisms of the interactions between the materials and the tissues that underpin the performance. This branch of biomaterials science has become associated with the term biocompatibility, a field that has been the driving force for the subject. With greater knowledge about these interactions, old serendipitous biomaterials were discarded, and new, intentionally designed, or at least modified, materials, introduced. Moreover, these materials started to find applications in related areas, and medical devices were no longer the sole home for biomaterials, as applications in pharmaceutical technology through drug and gene delivery, regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, and biotechnology have emerged and developed.Twenty-five years on, we can truly say that biomaterials science has matured at an incredible rate and now represents a formidable sector that bridges the materials sciences, advanced medical therapies, and molecular and cell sciences. This development could not have been achieved without high quality scientific journals, including those that represent the main parent disciplines and the interdisciplinary field of biomaterials science itself. Although by no means alone, the journal Biomaterials has taken centre stage here and, at the time of its silver jubilee in 2004 is widely considered to be the premier journal in this field. This Compendium is published as a landmark in biomaterials science and it is to be hoped that it will serve as a stimulus to young biomaterials scientists of the early twenty-first century for their pioneering work of the future.