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Biological Physics

Supramolecular Structures Lab
Lösche/Heinrich Group

Introduction to Biological Physics


Course IDs: 33-441 / 03-439

credit points: 10 / 9

Course Meeting Times

Tuesdays, Thursdays: 15:00 – 16:20, WeH 5304

First day of lecture: Tuesday, August 26.

Consultation Hours

Thursdays: 9:00 – 10:00, or by appointment (Amanda Bodnar, 8-8367)

Course Objectives

This intermediate level course is primarily offered to Physics and Biology undergrads (junior / senior) and provides a modern view of molecular and cellular biology as seen from the perspective of physics, and quantified through the analytical tools of physics. This course will not review experimental biophysical techniques (which are covered, e.g., in 03-871). Rather, physicists will learn what sets “bio” apart from the remainder of the Physics world and how the apparent dilemma that the existence of life represents to classical thermodynamics is reconciled. They also will learn the nomenclature used in molecular biology. In turn, biologists will obtain (a glimpse of) what quantitative tools can achieve beyond the mere collecting and archiving of facts in a universe of observations: By devising models, non-obvious quantitative predictions are derived which can be experimentally tested and may lead to threads that connect vastly different, apparently unrelated phenomena. One major goal is then to merge the two areas, physics and biology, in a unified perspective.


Problem sets (40%), in-class exams (30%), final exam (30%)

Exam Schedule

in-class exams:
exam I: October-16
exam II: November-13
final exam: TBA



download area

Course syllabus


HW 1 – due 09/11 – HW 1 solutions
HW 2 – due 09/25 – HW 2 solutions
HW 3 – due 10/07 – HW 3 solutions
HW 4 – due 10/14 – HW 4 solutions
HW 5 – due 10/21 – HW 5 solutions
HW 6 – due 10/28 – HW 6 solutions
HW 7 – due 11/04 – HW 7 solutions
HW 8
– due 11/11 – HW 8 solutions
HW 9 (amended!) – due 11/25

lecture notes

models and numbers (lecture on 9/2)


Due date for HW9 postponed to Nov-25

Final Exam:
Tues, Dec.-09, 1:00 to 4:00 pm
5302 Wean Hall – 03-439 and 33-441

Teaching Home

Grad Course in Biol. Physics, S'14

Intro to Biol. Physics, F'14