803301 Biophysics

Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Toca-Herrera, José Luis
Offered in
Wintersemester 2023/24
Languages of instruction


The biophysics course is very basic and provides an overview over:

1) physical magnitudes, measurements and error propagation, 2) scaling laws and physical models in biology, 3) building blocks in nature (ions, lipids, biopolymers, cells, etc.), 4) thermodynamics (with emphasis on entropy and statistical mechanics), 5) molecular forces, energy transfer and unbinding dynamics, 6) fluids, 7) biorheology, 8) motility, diffusion and heat transfer, 9) basic medical physics, and 10) main experimental techniques (based on examples).

(Depending on the time left, electrical phenomena in biology and life sciences will be also introduced.)

The mathematical tools necessary to follow and understand the lecture contents will be explained during the class.

Students will also receive a collection of questions and problems, as well as a selection of scientific articles to reinforce the knowledge acquired in class.

The course will point out the importance of physics on biological and life science sciences and will start from the physics foundation acquired by students in their bachelor studies.

Previous knowledge expected

Special knowledge in biology or biochemistry is not required.
Some knowledge is physics, physical chemistry and mathematics will be an advantage but it not necessary.

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

The goal of the course is a first step to build the necessary basic knowledge to start tackle questions like how does biology works from a physical point of view.
Thus, the course aims to provide basic principles that can be used to understand life science phenomena.

After the course the students will have understanding about biomolecular interactions, physico-chemical properties of soft matter (lipids, cells, etc. ) and how the phenomena involved can be investigated with physical tools.
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.