What is Biophysics: Definition and 153 Discussions

Biophysics is an interdisciplinary science that applies approaches and methods traditionally used in physics to study biological phenomena. Biophysics covers all scales of biological organization, from molecular to organismic and populations. Biophysical research shares significant overlap with biochemistry, molecular biology, physical chemistry, physiology, nanotechnology, bioengineering, computational biology, biomechanics, developmental biology and systems biology.
The term biophysics was originally introduced by Karl Pearson in 1892. The term biophysics is also regularly used in academia to indicate the study of the physical quantities (e.g. electric current, temperature, stress, entropy) in biological systems. Other biological sciences also perform research on the biophysical properties of living organisms including molecular biology, cell biology, chemical biology, and biochemistry.

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  1. M

    Hello, biophysics student here

    Hello all! I'm a physics student, planning to apply for a biophysics PhD program once I finish my undergrad. My main topics of interest are neuroscience and microbial communities. Originally I was just in physics because I liked the approach, but statistical mechanics showed just how...
  2. michelefanti

    Advice for self-studying biophysics after my BSc in Physics

    TL;DR Summary: Briefly i'm asking for guidance through self-studying biophysics. Hello everyone, i've almost finished my bsc in physics and i got intrigued by biophysics, although my university doesn't provide courses for the subject. I wanted to get a grasp of the subject by myself but...
  3. M

    A Effects of magnetic fields on material (Magnetic resonance)

    Hi, I was wondering if a Magnetic Resonance (+contrast) can in some way modify the structure of artificial chordae used in heart surgery. My first answer would be "No". There ain't any medical article about that. Also (as far as i know) I don't think magnetic field can break chemical bond, so it...
  4. H

    Mathematical process for protein folding

    Hello, I am currently working on an idea for a possible future masters or PhD in cellular biology, however my idea is currently just a passion project. For it to work, I would need to learn how to predict and make a specific protein to do a specific function, in this instance I need to use it to...
  5. D

    How much physics is needed for Bialek's Biophysics book?

    Hello, I am originally a medical doctor and now doing a PhD in neuroscience. I have no formal physics / math training beyond high school level but I self-studied single variable and multivariable calculus as well as differential equations from MIT's OCW website, did examples, exams etc. I also...
  6. XcgsdV

    Courses How much Chemistry should I take to prepare for Biophysics PhD?

    Hey y'all! I'm about to enter my second year of undergrad as a double major in Physics and Vocal Music. I am still exploring a lot of what physics has to offer, but I'm very intrigued by biophysics. I recently found a paper on the mechanics behind cell differentiation during embryonic...
  7. A

    Admissions PhD in CSME/Computational Physics/Biophysics from maths background

    Hello, I’m looking to apply for CSME/computational physics/biophysics PhDs in America starting in September 2024. I'm a bit scared about physics departments just because whilst I have mechanics, QM and Stat Mech I have never taken any atomic/electrodynamic classes. I would like to know if my...
  8. Ahmed1029

    Studying What are the prerequisites before studying biophysics textbooks?

    I'm interested in biophysics but I don't know much biology or chemistry to begin with, yet I know a good bit of math and physics. What topics in biology and chemistry should I cover before reading a book on biophysics?
  9. MarkTheQuark

    Hello I'm a undergrad physics student from Brazil

    Hello everyone, I'm a undergrad student at the State University of Maringa, from Brazil. In three semesters I'll graduate with a bachelor degree. And I want to do a master in biophysics, probably in another country and I think that's it.
  10. B

    Other Working in a biology lab for a physics/biophysics major

    I was wondering if it is of any value for someone interested in physics/Biophysics grad school and a Biophysics career to be working in a biology lab? I'm an undergraduate physics major concentrating in biophysics in the US and I have an offer to work in a cancer biology lab. It's very much...
  11. mikelandmeier

    Can Biophysics Offer Solutions to Combat CO2 and Climate Change?

    I am a retired engineer now working to apply biophysics technologies to solve the global CO2 problem. I have registered a team on the Elon Musk CO2 Removal Xprize. https://pop.xprize.org/Teams/TeamProfile?TeamID=5288 Biology has the answer to the excessive environmental CO2 problem. I am...
  12. Sophrosyne

    Medical Tensile strength of cell membranes

    The structure of the cell membrane is depicted as being formed from a bilayer of phospholipids with their hydrophilic portions pointing outwards and their hydrophilic portions facing each other. But as I look at the histology of the epithelial layer of the epidermis or mucous membranes, I am...
  13. M

    Energy landscape in the two state model (Boltzmann distribution)

    From an excel file I can get the probability of each energy state Εi and I saw at Wikipedia that the probability of each energy is proportional with e^−Εi/KT, from this I find the energy of every micro state. Also from the formula which I found on a paper I can get a curve like the curve...
  14. AryaKimiaghalam

    A Interface between Biological Physics and Quantum Physics

    Are there areas of studies which could be characterized as an interface of biological physics and quantum physics? Does such an interface even exist?
  15. C

    What can you do with a Master's degree in biophysics?

    What can you do with a masters degree in biophysics?
  16. D

    Biophysics Q: Impact of stiffness (Young's modulus) on stress failure

    Hi. I'm a physician trying to understand the micromechanics of lung injury due to overdistension. The basic idea is that overstretching of the plasma membrane of the lung epithelial cell causes "stress failure" --> i.e. plasma membrane rupture --> cell death. The concepts of stress, strain, and...
  17. V

    Courses Undergraduate Math Course Selection Question

    Hello, I'm a college undergraduate sophomore interested in eventually getting a Ph.D. in biophysics or computational physics. I have the chance to take several graduate math classes in the next two years, and I was wondering which ones would be the most useful for me in the future. They are...
  18. T

    Physics Find Biophysics Programs & Realistic Assessments of Admission Chances

    Hey y'all, I posted here a while back, but here goes. I'm looking for biophysics schools/labs with realistic assessments of how likely it is I'll get in. Also looking for forums to post to besides this one :) Summary: Senior undergraduate at UIUC, dual degree in Physics, CS + Math. 3.7 GPA...
  19. L

    Intermediary projects in Python (Biophysics)

    Hello, I am an Undergraduate student looking for ideas for a project in Python. The project should contain a library filled with modules, classes (and preferably something with inheritance), and the unittest module. I would like to do something as follows: First, some kind ob WebScraping to...
  20. cordless03

    A Can Particle Physics Revolutionize Biology?

    Are there any ways particle physics can impact biology? Specifically, being able to use methods from theoretical physics to study biological systems (possible physiology related).
  21. T

    Programs Experimental physics, applied math, or both?

    Hey all, So I'm about to be a senior at a US school, and likely want to do grad school. I'm posting here because my interests are really sort of disparate and don't really share a theme. I like dynamics, stat mech, doing stuff on computers, and doing stuff with my hands... Anyway, here's a...
  22. Sophrosyne

    The chemistry/physics of saltatory nerve conduction

    Saltatory nerve conduction occurs because of myelination of nerve fibers. This is done by Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system and oligodendrocytes in the central nervous system. From what I understand, it happens because depolarization of the membrane at an unmyelinated area of the...
  23. TytoAlba95

    Biophys Techniques: Southern Blotting, PCR, RT-PCR

    I have problem understanding these techniques with reference to the question: a. PCR b. Southern blotting c. Reverse transcriptase PCR d.Western blotting My attempt: d. Western blotting is not the right method here because it doesn't detect DNA or RNA transcript. b. Southern blotting can be...
  24. J

    Schools Grad School? Is this an option anymore?

    Hi, so some background. I am an undergrad just now finishing my second year in my biophysics degree. I wanted to go into biomedical engineering, I understand that this is an insanely competitive field. My GPA is embarrassingly low. There are some reasons behind it, but everyone has their reasons...
  25. cordless03

    What math and physics is needed for biophysics research?

    What math and physics is needed for biophysics research? Specifically having to do with medical applications. I am undergrad student interested in physics and medicine.
  26. Savian

    Courses Is there a calculus requirement in Europe for Biophysics?

    I saw the roadmap of my university of and there is no calculus for biophysics, as soon as there is no calculus for medicine, as for example there is in the US. My question is if there is calculus for biophysics in Europe and in the US. Adendum: there is only calculus in Brazil for medicine in...
  27. P

    Studying Textbook suggestions for LiDAR/Radar/RF Telemetry

    Previously I made this post, and soon after realized how woefully unprepared I am to approach such a topic. As stated in the post, I think my best use of time would be to gain background knowledge on the topic before attempting a project, but now I think I've found a better focus as to what...
  28. José Ricardo

    Programs Biophysics or astrobiology -- needs to be a minor or can be a major?

    As I said before in a other thread (I don't remember if it was this section). To do a postgraduate in Theoritical Biophysics or in a astrobiology, I need to have a minor, or a major is enough?
  29. José Ricardo

    (Biophysiscs) Failures of the human body

    https://translate.google.com.br/translate?sl=pt&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=pt-BR&ie=UTF-8&u=https%3A%2F%2Fmisteriosdomundo.org%2Fessas-sao-as-7-falhas-que-o-corpo-humano-possui-em-sua-estrutura%2F&edit-text=&act=url What do you guys think about this article? Is there some error? Or the article is...
  30. José Ricardo

    I would like advice on which sub-areas I should follow for two Masters

    Hi folks, My name is José Ricardo, I study at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (1st period). As the majority of the academics, always there is one who wants to follow a career. I'm doing major in Physics. I want to teach? Yes, I do. But I want to follow the research as well. I have...
  31. Sophrosyne

    B How does the ear distinguish multiple different pitches?

    A chord played on a piano is multiple different pitches, each at a different frequency, played simultaneously. The ear hears this as separate sounds. The cochlea of the ear is organized by tone (tonographic organization), from highest to lowest frequency. So a triad chord will stimulate three...
  32. BransonMO

    Effect of zero gravity on spinal compression

    I am trying to compare an experiment on spinal changes due to zero-g in astronauts. Researchers simulated zero-g spinal elongation by suspending human subjects so that no part of their body touched the ground. This figure shows the % change in disc thickness for each subject compared to data...
  33. A

    Courses Figuring out which (undergrad) classes to take

    I have spent the past few months incredibly conflicted. I just finished my freshman year of undergrad (at a 4-year American university) and I have discovered Biophysics, a field which I really want to pursue. However, I still love math and want to continue with my Applied Math major. I'm afraid...
  34. AD MCFC

    A The Future of "Soft Matter Physics"

    Hi all, I am trying to learn more about this field. Whether you work or have worked in this area or not, I would like to know where Soft Matter is going in terms of theory and applications. Thanks, A.D. *I apologize in advance if there are already many threads specifically addressing this...
  35. S

    Other Intelligent hands-on job with a physics degree

    Hi everybody! So I got a Masters in physics (precisely - biophysics) 5 years ago. Then attempted to get a PhD, realized that research and academia don't feel right to me and quit. Now I'm 28. Despite the lack of the doctoral degree, working in the lab gave me many skills. Biomedical engineering...
  36. S

    Programs Academic/Career Crossroads: Teacher to ME to Naval Flight officer....

    Hello. I am a teacher about to wrap up his fifth year in May. I started at the very bottom, teaching at risk and worked my way up with the help of my former teachers. I now teach AP Physics 1 and IB Mathematics SL. The whole experience has left me jaded. I gave it my all: my personality, my...
  37. Gamma

    Biophysics course in 2-year colleges

    Hello, Is anyone here familiar with teaching Biophysics or biology/life-science focused physics courses in a two-year institution? We have problem of low enrollment in the traditional physics course - i.e. both in algebra-based and calc. based physics courses! But we have very healthy...
  38. S

    Programs Applied Physics specialization: Biophysics vs Quantum

    Hi! I am starting my Master's in Applied Physics at the TU Delft next week and I have yet to decide a research track (i.e. specialization). I have narrowed my options down to bionanoscience and quantum nanoscience. Of these two, which would be better? Of course, 'better' is a vague term, so what...
  39. Sophrosyne

    Medical Optical transparency of the human cornea and lens

    There are two optically transparent tissues in the human body: the cornea and the lens. But how they achieve this transparency is different, and both in turn appear to achieve this differently than in other optically clear materials like glass. The transmission of light through glass or other...
  40. Delta31415

    Other Combining Physics & Medicine: My Questions & Advice Needed

    Well I have a few questions, for the past few months and weeks, my parents have been constantly bugging me to be a doctor [I just became a senior, like today; I will be applying to college in a few months, so I need to be thinking about majors and stuff]. My problem is I don’t hate medicine, its...
  41. B

    Other So I have three weeks to learn about protein dynamics

    Hello there, Situation I got a research position at my university in studying amyloidogenic proteins, which are associated with many different neuro-degenerative diseases. The professor has a NovoControl Dielectric Spectrometer in the lab, which will be the main equipment used to gather data...
  42. T

    Schools Princeton vs. UChicago Biophysics Undergrad

    I'm currently a high school junior, and I'm highly interested in studying biophysics in college, my eventual goal being to get a Ph.D. in it. Out of all the colleges I've visited, Princeton and the University of Chicago have been my favorite. Which of these schools would allow me the best...
  43. J

    Optical Tweezers in the Ray Optics Regime

    Homework Statement Consider an optical tweezer operated in the ray optics regime as shown in Figure. Net reflection angle of the ray shown in Figure is θ = 10◦ (See Figure). Since more photons take the thick ray than the thin ray, a net force of F = 1 pN is exerted on the sphere toward the...
  44. G

    Physics I am now a PhD, but feel lost about myself and Science

    Hi All, Please bear with me, you can skip to the LSS (Long Story Short) line if you do not want to go through the wall of text. But the complete story carries important information regarding my demise :). After a painful 7 years, I managed to obtain my PhD in Physics. My Thesis and...
  45. T

    Do laws of thermodynamics really apply to ecosystems?

    From Odum (Father of modern ecology) Ecosystem follows the laws of termodynamics 1st law 2nd law The way the laws have been put it looks alright but they are valid for closed systems only which ecosystems are not. However according to wikipedia apart from having a closed system there are...
  46. Avatrin

    Physical properties of materials in the human body

    I am looking for resources on the physical properties of the various components that make up the human body. As an example of what I am looking for; If we look at the finger, we know it has bones, skins, nails, blood etc. What are the various physical properties of these different parts...
  47. Auto-Didact

    A Correspondence between entanglement and chaos?

    Neill et al. 2016, Ergodic dynamics and thermalization in an isolated quantum system NB: For a more introductory version, phys.org ran a piece on this article last summer From my understanding entanglement is generally seen as purely a quantum phenomenon, while on the other hand chaos is...
  48. T

    What is strain? Why does DNA coil upon itself?

    I have been reading Lehninger's Principles of Biochemistry to understand DNA supercoiling (pg-930). Supercoiling is the twisting of a DNA upon itself and this happens when the two helically wound strands of DNA are either underwound or overwound. The book says that this act of underwinding or...
  49. K

    Exploring the Intersection of Physics and Neuroscience: A Student's Journey

    Im a student on my way towards learning the fascinating components of what makes everything work. I want to apply physics into the realms of neuroscience and this is why I've chosen Biophysics. I wish I could say more but I am barely learning but truly excited to see what I can add to this field...
  50. T

    Programs Ideal Undergrad Preparation for Biophysics Ph.D.

    I'm looking at colleges right now. I'm really interested in biophysics, so I've been planning out what I biophysics curriculum would look like at various schools. However, most schools do not have a biophysics major, so I've had a hard time planning out what classes to take in addition to the...