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Computational science: Theoretical Biophysics (BERN08), 7.5 credits

This course deals with applications of physics in biology. You will learn about various physical processes of biological importance, such as random walks and osmotic pressure, and how these can be described theoretically with concepts and tools mainly from statistical mechanics.

The course begins with a brief primer on cell and molecular biology, aimed at physicists and others who have not previously studied biology. This part of the course gives a broad description of biological structures and functions that are then explored and described mathematically in the main parts of the course. The course covers topics such as:

  • Cell composition and contents
  • Macromolecules such as DNA and proteins
  • Length scales and time scales in biology
  • Brownian motion and biological applications of diffusion
  • Viscous flows
  • Entropy and free energy
  • Entropic forces and osmotic pressure
  • Chemical potential
  • Molecular mechanisms and motors.

The course also contains two computer exercises where you will explore phenomena in biophysics, as well as an oral group presentation about one of the course topics.

Who can take the course?

The course is designed for students with knowledge in physics or modelling from at least a couple of years of bachelor studies. The formal requirements are 90 credits in natural science including knowledge equivalent to BERN01 Modeling in Computational Science or FYSB23 Basic Statistical Physics and Quantum Statistics.

Students on some Engineering (LTH) programs can take the course (course code EXTQ02) and have the prerequisite knowledge from earlier courses. Doctoral students are also welcome to take the course (course code NMV009F) and are asked to contact the course coordinator well before the course starts.

The course is given at half speed during the first half of the spring term. We try to avoid scheduling clashes with other courses that students have applied to, both at Science and Engineering, but this cannot be guaranteed. The course has previously been given under the course codes EXTQ01, BERN05, FYTN05 and FYS243.

More information about the course content, schedule and course evaluations can be found on the permanent course page on Canvas:

Eligibility & selection, application and admission

On the Lund University central website you will (eventually, closer to the application date) find syllabus, eligibility & selection, application & admission information.

Theoretical Biophysics (BERN08)

Course code: BERN08
Credits: 7,5 hp
Cycle: Second cycle
Period: Spring term, period 1, half speed


Schedule for BERN05 spring 2024 on TimeEdit –

Course literature

Physical Biology of the Cell, second edition, Rob Phillips, Jane Kondev, Julie Therot, Hernan G. Garcia. Garland Science (2012).

Course analyses

See the course page on Canvas

Course coordinator

Carl Troein
Email: carl [dot] troein [at] cec [dot] lu [dot] se (carl[dot]troein[at]cec[dot]lu[dot]se)
Phone: +46 46 222 30 03