Professor of Physics (emeritus)
Mail: Dept. of Physics, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada
This site contains teaching, research
and administrative material, stored in PDF format.
My thanks to Alex Boal and Neil Alberding
for helping to set up the original website in 1995.
The theme of my research program is the cell's mechanical design and its
evolution during the first two billion years of life on Earth. As an
interdisciplinary project, it draws from theoretical physics, microbiology
and paleontology in roughly equal fractions. Through computer simulations,
the division cycles of structurally simple cells are predicted, with a focus
on shapes such as diplococci and filaments. These predictions are tested against the measured division
cycles of modern cyanobacteria that are cultured in my lab. Then, the
cycles of microfossils more than two billion years old are analyzed and
compared against the catalog of modern cycles to determine the likely
structural components and functioning of ancient cell lines. Sources for the
microfossil specimens include both public collections as well as my own material. An
overview of the methodology can be found in a pair of summer school lectures given
at Odense, Denmark.
Mechanics of the Cell
Aimed at senior undergraduates and graduate students in science and biomedical engineering
this text explores the architecture of the cell's envelope and internal scaffolding. The analysis is
performed within a consistent theoretical framework, although the reader can navigate from the
introductory material to the results and biological applications without working through the
intervening mathematics. The book can be used as a primary source in a one-semester course on
cell mechanics, or as part of a more general course on biophysics (see
PHYS 4xx). Published by
Cambridge University Press .
Click here to access the website for the first edition (2002, out of print).
Click here to access the website for the second edition (2012).
Lecture notes and previous exams are available for
the following undergraduate and graduate courses.
Physics 101: General Physics I
Physics 120: Modern Physics and Mechanics
Physics 211: Intermediate Mechanics
Physics 385: Quantum Physics
Physics 390: Introduction to Astrophysics
Physics 395: Computational Physics
Physics 415: Quantum Mechanics (scanned)
Physics 445: Statistical Physics
Physics 4xx: Biophysics: Mechanics of the Cell
Physics 810: Fundamental Quantum Mechanics (scanned)
Reports on university planning