APH 161

About the class

It is a wonderful time to be thinking about the workings of the living world.  Historic advances in molecular biology, structural biology and the use of biophysical techniques such as optical traps have provided an unprecedented window on the mechanics of the cell. The aim of this course is to study the cell and its components using whatever tools we need in order to make quantitative and predictive statements about cellular life. The main intellectual thread of the course will be the idea that the type of quantitative data which is becoming routine in biology calls for a corresponding quantitative modeling framework. The plan of this course is to elucidate general principles with exciting case studies.

In 2009, having just completed "Physical Biology of the Cell," Rob and his coauthors felt disappointed that they did not include any discussion of photosynthesis and electron transfer and their basis in quantum mechanics.  To that end, the course will push all of us to try and see how simple ideas from quantum mechanics can be used to explore how light energy is harvested by living organisms.

Note that science is driven by experiment--nowhere is this more evident than in the life sciences. As a result, those who are most serious are encouraged to enroll in BE/APh 162: Physical Biology Laboratory concurrently. This laboratory class is built around a series of experiments which are designed to correspond with material covered in the BE/APh 161 lectures.