Learning About Biophysics
If biophysics sounds interesting and you would like to learn more so
you can decide about becoming a biophysics major, the information
below should be helpful. People are usually the best source of
information when learning about a topic so try meeting first with
the Biophysics Director of
or with some of
Videos and images related to biophysics
contains links to videos and images
that biophysics faculty and students have recommended as
Articles and talks related to biophysics
Books Related to Biophysics
Here are some biophysics-related books that can help you get
a feeling for the subject:
- Some textbooks on biophysics (these are rather technical but give
a good sense of what undergraduate biophysics majors learn):
The Machinery of Life by David Goodsell. A visually delightful and
insightful book about the machinery of life from molecules to the
scale of a single cell, the book succeeds in giving you a sense of the
dense richness and complexity of a single biological cell.
- What A Plant Knows: A
Field Guide to the Senses by Daniel Chamovitz. A short readable
thought provoking book about how plants sense the world. Did you know
that typical plants, although they lack eyes, have ten or more
different kinds of photoreceptors for detecting light versus the four
kinds of receptors in the human eye? What is the biophysics of that?
is Life? by Erwin Schrodinger. A short older book written by one
of the creators of the quantum theory, that played an important
historical role in convincing many physicists to get involved with
biological problems. This book helped to trigger the molecular biology
revolution, as discussed in the Eighth Day of Creation.
of Life by the theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson. Yet another
short thought-provoking and insightful book. The discussion shows how
many physics-related issues are deeply related to the question of how
Devices: The Physical World of Animals and Plants by Steven
Vogel. An entertaining and insightful book about biomechanics.
Eighth Day of Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Biology, 25th
Anniversary Edition by Horace Judson. A long but enjoyable book
about the various research threads that led to the discovery of DNA
and how DNA is read and translated into proteins, also how the
structures of certain proteins were first figured out. Although the
title sounds like a biology book, many of the key players had physics
backgrounds and used their physics training to contribute to the
discoveries that led to the molecular biology revolution.
- Some books related to the biophysics of understanding brains:
of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st
Century, a visual tour of brain structure as revealed by
successive advances in chemistry, genetics, microscopy, and
physics. As the physicist Richard Feynman said in his Feynman
Lectures, solving problems in biology often reduce to being able to
see what is going on, and this book shows how far technology
(biophysics!) has evolved in allowing one to see.
How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are by Sebastian Seung. A
non-technical book written for laypeople, it is a discussion of
current efforts to create the technology needed to determine the
wiring diagram (connectivity matrix) of large brain regions and what
success will imply. The book provides a remarkable and enjoyable
overview of current neuroscience.
Question for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach by Christof
Koch. Can one use quantitative scientific methods to pin down and
measure consciousness? If so, how?
- An Introduction to Systems Biology: Design Principles of
Biological Circuits by Uri Alon.
of Motor Proteins and the Cytoskeleton by Jonathan Howard.
Websites related to biophysics
- The Biophysical
Society webpage, especially the list of abstracts
discussed in the annual Biophysics meeting, can give you a
sense of current questions that biophysicists are