Fall 2017 - PHYS 347 D100

Introduction to Biological Physics (3)

Class Number: 1576

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We, Fr 12:30 PM – 1:20 PM
    AQ 5005, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 8, 2017
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    AQ 5005, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    Completion of 45 units including CHEM 122, MATH 152 (or 155), PHYS 121 (or 102 or 126 or 141), with a minimum grade of C-. Recommended: BISC 101.



A physics perspective on cellular structure and composition; random walks and diffusion; properties of fluids, cell motion; entropy and the properties of soft materials; structure and function of proteins; signal propagation in nerves. Quantitative.


Course Topics (provisional):

Physics & biology: the big picture
The building blocks of cells
Molecular motion and the cellular environment
Random walks and diffusion
Fluids and life at low Reynolds number
Entropy, free energy & statistical mechanics
Mechanical properties of biopolymers
Biological membranes
Molecular Motors
Pumps and other cellular gates
Nerve Impulses
Neural Networks
Special Topics


  • Assignments 15%
  • Independent Project 15%
  • Mid-term #1 15%
  • Mid-term #2 20%
  • Final exam 35%



Required Text:

Physical Biology of the Cell, 2nd edition
Authors: Phillips, Kondev & Theriot

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Students who cannot write their exam during the course's scheduled exam time must request accommodation from their instructor in writing, clearly stating the reason for this request, before the end of the first week of classes.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html