Undergraduate Course: Biological Physics (PHYS11040)
|School||School of Physics and Astronomy
||College||College of Science and Engineering
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||There is an increased research effort in the school devoted to problems at the interface between biology and physics. There is also increasing recognition that physics can provide a very real - and very valuable - insight into the behaviour of complex biological systems, and that a physical approach to biological problems can provide a new way of looking at the world. This course will introduce the students to the basics of biological systems, and then provide examples of how familiar physical principles (thermodynamics, statistical mechanics) underlie complex biological phenomena.
This course will introduce you to the wonders of biology: the organisms, cells, and molecules that make up the living world. We will demonstrate the power of physical concepts to understand and make powerful predictions about biological systems, from the folding of a protein into a unique three-dimensional structure within a reasonable timeframe, through the motions of proteins to drive biological processes, to the locomotion of bacterial cells. The physical concepts will be substantially familiar, but their applications will be novel. Where possible, examples will be drawn from the recent scientific literature.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| At least 80 credit points accrued in courses of SCQF Level 9 or 10 drawn from Schedule Q.
Please be aware that this course has a high level of Maths.
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Some knowledge of statistical thermodynamics is useful.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 12,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 6,
Online Activities 2,
Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2,
Summative Assessment Hours 3,
Revision Session Hours 3,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||20% oral assignment
30% written assignment
50% Degree Examination
All components are mandatory to pass the course.
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)||2:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of the structure of cells, and the major components within a cell.
- Recognise that biological systems are far from equilibrium.
- Understand the importance of diffusion, random walks and entropy in biological systems.
- Understand the importance of cooperativity in biology.
- Recognise and communicate the different approaches used in Biological and Physical research.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Additional Class Delivery Information
||12 lectures; 4 tutorials; attend 2 hours of oral presentations during which you will provide feedback on your peers oral presentations.
|Course organiser||Dr Chris Brackley
Tel: (0131 6)50 8617
|Course secretary||Miss Helen Walker
Tel: (0131 6)50 7741