How much math and physics in biophysics?

  • Thread starter Delong
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  • #1
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Hi there I'm a biochemistry major third year because I'm interested in biology but wanted to have a firm grounding in the physical sciences. Admittingly, the grounding is rather superficial with biochemistry which is why I am trying to supplement with as many physical science and math classes as I can. Although I respect chemistry as a fine science I don't feel like going into it myself. I was thinking instead of going into biophysics with a strong math emphasis. I want to work on the intersection of math, physics, and biology. Biophysics still seems like a vague and broad subject so I was thinking of limiting myself to molecular biophysics which seems to be making more progess. Is biophysics still a strong subject or is it lacking behind other sciences like molecular biology and biochemistry? Also just how much math and physics do biophysicists learn? I'd like to learn as much as I can.
 

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  • #2
Simfish
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Math: partial differential equations, nonlinear dynamics and chaos, complex variables, information theory, some statistics. applied math is really the important branch here.

Physics: hm, you don't need *that* much physics for biophysics research. statistical mechanics is the most important physics, but you won't really be using much EM or quantum (biological scales are way too large for quantum effects to really show up in a significant way - yes they do show up in photosynthesis and maybe the electron transport chain, but the vast majority of the research doesn't use QM, as much as Roger Penrose may want it to). As long as you have a significant background in applied math, 1st year physics + modern physics + statistical mechanics should be good enough for most applications.
 
Last edited:
  • #3
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Thanks!

Someday I would like to work in pure math and physics. Biology is hot but I think these sciences are much cooler in the long run. Hopefully I can still switch into pure physics and math from biophysics. K cool...
 

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