131 Home Page
Physics 131, Fall 2012
Profs. W. Losert and
E. F. Redish
of Physics for Biologists I
Description and Prerequisites
course is intended for biology majors and pre-health care professionals. The
physics topics chosen are selected for these students and the contexts emphasize
authentic biological examples. Prerequisites for the course include:
- One year of college biology (BSCI 105 and 106 or the equivalent)
- One semester of college chemistry (CHEM 131 or the equivalent)
- One year of college mathematics (MATH 130 and 131 or the equivalent --
calculus and an introduction to probability).
This is not your parent’s
physics! This class will focus on the
physics relevant to living things from molecules to worms to woodpeckers.
While physics, chemistry, and biology are well established fields, some of
the scientific questions you will explore in this class have only recently
been tackled. You will focus on physics at the convergence with biology, where
physical, chemical and biological principles all come into play. A primary
theme for this first semester is the concept of motion -- and the difference
between coherent, directed motion and the random motion that occurs at the
What do I need to buy?
There is no textbook to buy for this course. We are developing a WikiBook
that you will be able to read on line.
There is also no lab manual to buy. The lab instructions will be made available
You will need to have
- A Clicker --
a remote control device from TurningPoint that allows you to contribute
answers in lecture. It is available at the Campus Book Store. This is the
campus standard. If you have one from another class, you are likely to
able to use it here. If you have an iPhone or iTouch you should be able
to use it as a clicker. See
the campus clicker page for more information.
- An Online HW service --
most of the HW will be done online through the online service, MasteringPhysics, from
Pearson publishers. You may buy this at the bookstore or at http://www.masteringphysics.com/site/register/new-students.html.
The course codes for each professor are P131F12LOSERT and P131F12REDISH. (You
can buy this without a
text but you have to identify Knight, College Physics, 2nd ed. as the text.
This gives access to the problems and tutorials from the text, but not
the text itself. If you want access to the text, it costs extra.)
- Access to a computer --
if you have your own laptop you will be able to use that. If not, you will
have to seek out campus computers that run the programs we will be using
and to see our Announcements and to track your grades on ELMS.
else do I need to get?
A lot of what we'll be
doing this term will be on the computer. Our readings and our homework
will be on the internet. You will also need access to a spreadsheet, and
a data analysis program. If you do not have your own laptop, you will need
to seek out the campus computer rooms and find the places where you can
access the appropriate programs. You need:
- A Spreadsheet --
You can either use Excel or the spreadsheet available at Googledocs (http://docs.google.com/)
to do repetitive calculations. If you plan to use Googledocs you will
need to have a Google account (a free Gmail account will work.)
For those of you who are unfamiliar with spreadsheets, there are a number
of good tutorials on the web. These two look particularly appropriate.
Many others are easily found by putting "Excel tutorial" into
your favorite search engine. We will do our own training on Excel
in the first lab.
- A Video Analysis
Program -- We'll be doing a some analysis of video clips
quantitatively. The tool we will use for this will be ImageJ.
This is a program developed for use in biology and medicine at NIH
and is the prefessional standard. If you have your own laptop, we
will help you install this in the laboratory period during the first
week of class (8/31).
do I need to do to succeed in this class?
Here is a brief outline of what you will need to do throughout the class.
For more details, see the
Course Mechanics page.
- Do the reading
and commentary for each lecture! -- For each lecture there
will be a required reading of a few web pages. For two of
these you will be asked to summarize the page on your Mastering
homework program and ask a question about it. These write ups will
be due by 10PM the night before the lecture class.
You can find these reading assignments on our Reading Assignment page.
- Attend and participate
in all the lectures and recitations! -- This is a class very
much about doing, not just about learning facts or equations.
In lecture we will be doing very little lecturing but a lot of answering
questions, doing group problem solving, and holding class discussions.
You will get participation points for some of this stuff, but that's
not the point -- the point is that in the doing in lecture
and recitation is where a lot of the real learning in this class
takes place. A major part of what you will be learning is how to
talk about and make sense of physics through problem solving with
- Do the weekly
homework! -- While the lecture and recitation is where you
will learn to talk about and make sense of physics through problem
solving, the homework is where you will get to try it out with your
classmates on your own. You are encouraged to work with others and
we have a Course Center (room 0208) set up where you can find people
to work with (and get help when you are stuck). But be careful! If
you work together DO NOT create a common solution and everyone copy
it. Once you have worked out a solution together, each person must
write it up separately in your own words. If two solutions are too
nearly identical neither will get credit! Homework assignments themselves
are found on our Homework Assignment page.
- Keep up! --
I know that you're busy, and in many classes you can let things slide
and then catch up for the exam. In this class that will be very difficult.
Each class builds on the last and on the homework from previous weeks.
If you miss too much you may find yourself lost. In addition, your grade
in this class is based on the accumulation of points in many different
categories throughout the term. For details see our
|Prof. W. Losert
(in the Course Center 0208 or by arrangement at other times in 1308)
Prof. E. F. Redish
the Course Center 0208 or by arrangement at other times in 1308)
To Be Determined
(for lab issues only in 3310)
||10-3 MWF (1214)
The University of Maryland,
College Park has a nationally recognized Code of Academic Integrity, administered
by the Student Honor Council. This Code sets standards for academic integrity
at Maryland for all undergraduate and graduate students. As a student you are
responsible for upholding these standards for this course. It is very important
for you to be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation,
and plagiarism. For more information on the Code of Academic Integrity or the
Student Honor Council, please visit http://www.studenthonorcouncil.umd.edu/whatis.html.
If you have any questions
about policy or procedures, please feel free to ask. I am looking forward
to working with you and hope that you will both enjoy and learn a lot from
To send a message to the entire class to start or contribute to a discussion,
send it to me and I will forward it to everyone.
This page prepared by
Edward F. Redish
and Wolfgang Losert
University of Maryland
Last revision 26 September,