Interactions between the fields of physics and biology reach
back over a century, and some of the most significant developments
in biology--from the discovery of DNA's structure to imaging of the
human brain--have involved collaboration across this disciplinary
boundary. For a new generation of physicists, the phenomena of life
pose exciting challenges to physics itself, and biophysics has
emerged as an important subfield of this discipline. Here, William
Bialek provides the first graduate-level introduction to biophysics
aimed at physics students.
Bialek begins by exploring how photon counting in vision offers
important lessons about the opportunities for quantitative,
physics-style experiments on diverse biological phenomena. He draws
from these lessons three general physical principles--the
importance of noise, the need to understand the extraordinary
performance of living systems without appealing to finely tuned
parameters, and the critical role of the representation and flow of
information in the business of life. Bialek then applies these
principles to a broad range of phenomena, including the control of
gene expression, perception and memory, protein folding, the
mechanics of the inner ear, the dynamics of biochemical reactions,
and pattern formation in developing embryos.
Featuring numerous problems and exercises throughout,
"Biophysics" emphasizes the unifying power of abstract physical
principles to motivate new and novel experiments on biological
systems. Covers a range of biological phenomena from the
physicist's perspective Features 200 problems Draws on statistical
mechanics, quantum mechanics, and related mathematical concepts
Includes an annotated bibliography and detailed appendixes
Instructor's manual (available only to teachers)
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