Physics 174 — Biophysics
In introductory physics courses, we learn of an idealized frictionless world of rigid, uniform objects with trivial geometries (e.g., the spherical cow). Yet, the movements of biological objects in daily life—insects crawling or flying, fish swimming, snakes slithering, and even plants winding and squeezing through their surroundings—defy such simplifications. Nevertheless, the physicist’s approach can be remarkably successful in understand the motion of some admittedly complex biological systems. This course will survey current research in the field of biolocomotion. Specific topics may include bacterial motion, swimming, flight, foraging, swarming, and the motion of plants.