Spring 2009

Molecular and Cellular Biophysics

Listed in: Chemistry, as CHEM-46  |  Physics and Astronomy, as PHYS-46


Nicholas C. Darnton (Section 01)


(Also Chemistry 46.) How do the physical laws that dominate our lives change at the small length and energy scales of individual molecules? What design principles break down at the sub-cellular level and what new chemistry and physics becomes important? We will answer these questions by looking at bio-molecules, cellular substructures, and control mechanisms that work effectively in the microscopic world. How can we understand both the static and dynamic shape of proteins using the laws of thermodynamics and kinetics? How has the basic understanding of the smallest molecular motor in the world, ATP synthase, changed our understanding of friction and torque? We will explore new technologies, such as atomic force and single molecule microscopy that have allowed research into these areas. This course will address topics in each of the three major divisions of Biophysics: bio-molecular structure, biophysical techniques, and biological mechanisms. Requisite: Chemistry 12, Physics 16(23), Physics 17(25), Biology 19 or evidence of equivalent coverage in pre-collegiate courses. Spring semester. Professor Darnton.