Physics 131

Physics for Biologists I (010x Eichenlaub)

In this class, we'll learn about the physics relevant to living things, from molecules to organisms to ecosystems. While physics, chemistry, and biology are well established fields, some of the scientific questions we will explore in this class have only recently been tackled. We will focus on physics at its 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 molecular level.

This class has a lot of moving parts. Be sure to follow all the links below so you know what's going on.

The best advice is DON'T SKIP ANYTHING (at least on a regular basis). Most activities accrue points and missing a large block of anything can have serious implications for your grade.

The red navigation bar across the top of this page (below the title) links you to what you need to do each week.

  • the readings (under "Schedule")
  • the homework
  • the printouts for the recitations and labs

Each of the red titles below is a link to the details.

Prerequisites and preparation
  • Prerequisites: (bio, chem, and math)
  • Required: Purchase an online app giving access to homework and in-class activities
  • Required: A laptop, tablet, or smart phone to share answers in class
  • Optional: A paper text (only if you want one)
  • Optional: A paper recitation and lab manual (recommended but not required)
Pre-readings and lecture
  • Do the readings
  • Do the brief online activity associated with the reading
  • Come to class and participate
To do each week
  • Complete the weekly homework (part online, part on paper)
  • Print out the recitation worksheet and go to your recitation section
  • Read the pre-lab readings, print out the lab instructions, and go to your lab session.
  • Weekly quizzes
  • Two full-lecture-period exams
  • One final.
  • These are not traditional! Be sure to read the details at the linked page!
  • There are many factors involved! Be sure to read the details at the linked page!
Information: Where, when, and who?
  • Class times and locations
  • Instructors and how to contact them
Getting Help
  • Using the ELMS discussion boards
  • studying in the course center
  • contacting instructional staff
Rules and regulations
  • Disability accomodations
  • Religious exceptions and other excused absences
  • Cheating and the honor code.
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