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Biological Physics

Supramolecular Structures Lab
Lösche/Heinrich Group

Biological Physics:
From Basic Concepts to Current Research

Course ID: 33-767

Course Meeting Times
Wednesdays, Fridays: 1:30 – 2:50 p.m., DH A200

Physical Biology of the Cell, Phillips et al. (2nd ed., Garland Science, NY 2013, ISBN 978-0-8153-4450-6)

Consultation Hours
Thursdays: 9:00 – 10:00, or by appointment (Theresa Gabrielli, 8-8367)
There will be no recitations.

Course Objectives
Biological Physics aims to apply the principles of physics and the methods of mathematical analysis and computer modeling to understand how biological systems work. This course serves as an introduction into this discipline, suitable as a one-semester course for students not necessarily specializing in this area. It will both provide the necessary general concepts, as well as follow some selected topics up to the current frontier of research.
In this course, students will gain a deep appreciation of the fact that very basic physical and chemical principles underly many central life processes. Life is not only compatible with the laws of physics and chemistry, rather, it exploits them in ingenious ways. After taking the course, students should be able to name examples of such situations for which they can provide a coherent line of reasoning that outlines these connections. They will be able to explain key experiments by which these connections either have been found or are nowadays routinely established, and outline simple back-of-the-envelope estimates by which one can convince oneself of either the validity or inapplicability of certain popular models and ideas. They should also have become sufficiently familiar with the key terminology frequently encountered in biology, such that they can start to further educate themselves by consulting biological and biophysical literature.

In-class student presentations: Due to the low number of student attendants this year, the mode of student presentations still has to be worked out.

Exam Schedule
There will not be any formal exams in this class.


download area

suggested reading

Mathematica scipt for HW2


class canceled on Feb-21


read until Mar-02 (Friday):
• Phillips ch. 8–8.2.2 (pp. 311–322)
read until Mar-07 (Wednesday):
• Phillips full ch. 8


HW1 (due Feb.-07) – sample solution
HW2 (due Feb.-16) – sample solution
HW3 (due Feb.-28) – sample solution
HW4 (due Mar.-07) – sample solution

student seminars

student presentation advise
student topics

student seminar literature (pre-2000)

Teaching Home

Grad Course in Biol. Physics, S'18

Intro to Biol. Physics, F'17