Fall 2019 - PHYS 847 G100

Topics in Soft-Condensed Matter and Biological Physics (3)

Class Number: 5869

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 11:30 AM – 1:20 PM
    WMC 3533, Burnaby

    Th 11:30 AM – 1:20 PM
    WMC 3251, Burnaby

  • Corequisites:

    PHYS 841.



An introduction to one of several topics in soft-condensed matter and biological physics. Recent versions of this course have focused on polymers, liquid crystals, structures of biological membranes, and cell mechanics.


Review of molecular biology
Numbers, lengthscales, timescales, and energy scales
Experimental techniques, especially single-molecule biophysics
Polymer physics
Random walks, diffusion, and entropic forces
Structural and material properties of biomolecules: nucleic acids, proteins, membranes
Energy, entropy, free energy, and molecular machines
Cell mechanics and the cytoskeleton
Life at low Reynolds number
Information processing, cell circuits, chemotaxis, and development


  • Homework 50%
  • Research proposal 20%
  • Final 30%

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/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