Course Coordinator: 
Bernd Kuhn
Physics for Life Sciences

Principles of physics of central relevance to modern biological analysis and instrumentation are introduced with an emphasis on application in practical research areas such as electrophysiology, optogenetics, electromagnetics, the interaction of light and matter, and brain recording, stimulation, and imaging.

Students successfully completing this course will have a deeper understanding of the underlying physics principals and the methods used in daily biology and neuroscience experiments.
Course Content: 
  1. Introduction - Physics in Biology: How physics contributes to life sciences.
  2. Nature of light
  3. Nature of matter
  4. Fundamentals on light and matter interaction
  5. Fluorescence and its applications Part 1
  6. Fluorescence and its applications Part 2 - Solvatochromism and Electrochromism
  7. Biophotonics
  8. Photosynthesis
  9. Optogenetics
  10. Linear optics
  11. Microscopy
  12. Non-linear optics, lasers, two-photon microscopy, super resolution microscopy
  13. The physics of DNA, lipid membranes, and proteins
  14. Bioelectricity
  15. Electronics for electrophysiology
  16. Magnetic resonance imaging
Course Type: 
Midterm presentation 25%, Final presentation 25%, participation + homework 25%, examination 1-2 weeks after the last lecture 25%
Text Book: 
  • Atkins Physical Chemistry, by P. Atkins & J. de Paula (2006) Oxford University Press
  • Foundations of Cellular Neurophysiology by D. Johnston & S.M-S. Wu (1994) The MIT Press
  • Guide to Research Techniques in Neuroscience by M. Carter & J. Shieh (2015) Academic Press
  • Introduction to Biophotonics by P.N. Prasad, (2003) J. Wiley & Sons
Reference Book: 
    Prior Knowledge: