Ca2+ is a universal second messenger controlling a wide variety of cellular reactions and adaptive responses. The initial appreciation of Ca2+ as a universal signalling molecule was based on the work of Sydney Ringer and Lewis Heilbrunn. More recent developments in this field were critically influenced by the invention of the patch clamp technique and the generation of fluorescent Ca2+ indicators. Currently the molecular Ca2+ signalling mechanisms are being worked out and we are beginning to assemble a reasonably complete picture of overall Ca2+ homeostasis. Furthermore, investigations of organellar Ca2+ homeostasis have added complexity to our understanding of Ca2+ signalling. The future of the Ca2+ signalling field lies with detailed investigations of the integrative function in vivo and clarification of the pathology associated with malfunctions of Ca2+ signalling cascades.