Physics 131

Physics for Biologists I
(Fall 2019) 010x Redish

This is not your parents' physics! This class will focus on the physics relevant to living things from molecules to worms to woodpeckers. You will focus on physics at the convergence with biology, where physical, chemical, and biological principles all come into play.The primary content 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.

What do I have to do to succeed in this class?

This class is not about learning to know physics but learning to do physics.

This means that we will be doing a lot of active learning in the class and using a lot of "formative assessment". You'll lots of small challenging tasks where you may are expected to make mistakes, figure out why, and correct your thinking as a result.

  • Expect to spend about 10 hours a week outside of class on readings, reading quizzes and homework.
    (If you find yourself having to spend more than that, come talk to your instructor.)
  • Do not expect to get everything right. 90% is not required for an A.
  • Do not expect to succeed by memorizing!
  • When you make a mistake you will need to figure out how to correct your thinking. That's why mistakes are so valuable!

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 lot of anything can hurt your grade.
  • Check out the various pieces of the syllabus in the links below arranged as FAQs. Use them to check back regularly to make sure you understand the role of each task. Click on the red title links for details.

If you are having trouble, COME SEE ME. I want all of you to succeed. This is NOT a weedout class. Though some of you will get B's and C's, My distribution is typically 1/4 A's, 1/2 B's, and 1/4 C's. I do NOT want to give out any D's or F's so if you think you're in trouble, come to my office hours or set up an appointment. (Office hours are in the Course Center: Physics 0208.)

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
What do I need for this class?
  • Prerequisites: bio, chem, and math
  • Required: Purchase online apps giving access to homework and in-class activities
  • Required: A laptop or smart phone to share answers in lecture
What do I need to do for (and before) each lecture?
  • Do the readings
  • Do the reading quiz associated with the reading (in Canvas)
  • Come to class and participate
What else do I need to do each week?
  • Complete the weekly homework (part in Canvas, part on paper)
  • Print out the recitation worksheet and go to your recitation section
  • Do the pre-lab activity (in Canvas), print out the lab instructions, and go to your lab session.
How do tests work in this class?
  • Weekly quizzes (on paper)
  • Occasional in-class group quizzes (in Canvas_
  • Two full-lecture-period exams
  • One final.
    These are not traditional exams! Be sure to read the details at the linked page!
How is my grade determined?
  • There are many factors involved! Be sure to read the details at the linked page!
  • Canvas gives an estimate, but these are not a hard and fast result.
Where, when, and who?
  • Class times and locations
  • Instructors and how to contact them
Rules and regulations
  • Disability accomodations
  • Religious exceptions and other excused absences
  • Cheating and the honor code.
University of Maryland Last modified 8/19/19 by Joe Redish