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Question on Biophysics Books

  1. Mar 12, 2012 #1
    Hello all!

    I am new to the forums and I am not exactly sure if this is the right place to post this question.

    I am currently interested in nonlinear dynamics and a professor had suggestion that I look into biophysics as well. I know almost nothing about biophysics and I am looking for a general book that covers the basics. Does anyone have any suggestions on authors?

    As for my level, I have completed my bachelors degree in physics and mathematics and am currently in a math PhD program looking to get back into a physics program. I will have next year off to study for physics GREs, reapply to programs (fun...) and I would like to spend the rest of that time looking into various research fields so I know exactly what I want to do if/when I do get into a physics program. (As for my prereqs in biology, I haven't taken bio since 2003-2004 and that was high school biology....)

    So any suggestions for intro biophysics books would be appreciated.

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 12, 2012 #2
    I'm pursuing an MD/PhD in biophysics and mathematical modeling of neurophysiology.

    A few starting places I'd recommend are:

    Biophysics by Roland Glasser

    or possibly:

    Mathematical Biology and Mathematical Biology II by J.D. Murray
    Biological Sequence Analysis by R. Durbin

    the Biophysics book will give you a gentle review of the key concepts in molecular biology, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry that are needed to get started with some actual concepts in biophysics. As far as I know, it's one of the standard introductory texts in the field. If it is too much bio/chem for you, I'd suggest somehow auditing half a dozen or so organic chem, physical chem, biochem, and cellular/molecular biology courses until the core biophysics topics are comfortable to you. Maybe if you have access to a medical school, you could see about auditing some of their first year seminars, which usually have a very solid and fast paced review/coverage of the topics you'd need to start more serious biophysics study.

    If you're not comfortable with that biochemistry stuff, but your math is solid, you may be more interested in the chapters from Murray's books on cellular reaction kinetics and genetics. Another great book that is more math/physics focused but not terribly bio dependent is the book (listed above) by Durbin. Both of these you'd probably be able to dive into since they are more math focused than actual biophysics.

    Since you said you didn't know a whole lot about biophysics ... the main body of research is almost a specialized subgroup of physical biochemistry, so having a really solid Pchem background is wise before moving into more advanced study of biophysics. Coming from a physics background is great, since you could probably teach yourself remedial gen chem in a month or so, then teach yourself physical chemistry without much trouble since you've seen a lot of the same stuff in thermo/stat mechanics, and quantum mechanics. Reading through an introductory biochemistry book would be your next move really as you start to do more biophysics. The subject matter can narrow quite rapidly at this point because you're basically using math and physics as your main tools in solving very specific problems in cellular and molecular biology.

    Hope those suggestions and a brief summary of the field help as a starting place for you.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012
  4. Mar 12, 2012 #3
    Thanks a bunch! I will definitely take a look at those two books. I would say that my knowledge of chemistry is a little bit more than biology, but even so the last I saw it was AP Chem in 2007 and some basic chem tutoring three years ago. Hopefully looking though these book I will be able to remember what I knew in chem and bio while learning a lot more!

    Thanks again!
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