Spring 2022 - PHYS 347 D100

Introduction to Biological Physics (3)

Class Number: 7096

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We, Fr 12:30 PM – 1:20 PM
    WMC 3253, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 26, 2022
    7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
    WMC 2202, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    Completion of 45 units including CHEM 122; MATH 152 or MATH 155; PHYS 102 or PHYS 121 or PHYS 126 or PHYS 141; all 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.


Lecture:  Mon, We, Fr 12:30-1:30pm
Tutorial:  Wed 3:30-4:30pm

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
Special Topics


  • Assignments 15%
  • Independent project 15%
  • Term tests 35%
  • Final exam 35%



Required Text: Physical Biology of the cell by Rob Phillips, Jané Kondev, Julie Theriot, Hernan Garcia and Jane Konde (2nd Edition). Available on SFU Bookstore.


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, within one week of the final exam schedule being posted.

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


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.