A while ago I announced that I’ve been working on a popular science book about biophysics, and a few months ago I noted that the first draft is done. Since people have asked about the present state of the book, I thought I’d make a quick post about it. Princeton University Press sent the manuscript … Continue reading Book Update: Untitled Biophysics
The microscopic world is deeply unintuitive, in large part due to the incessant randomness of Brownian motion. I was reminded of this when a colleague (Ben McMorran) pointed me to the timely topic of face masks and the physics that governs how they work. (Ben is collecting readings on this subject to discuss with undergraduates.) … Continue reading Physics, Face Masks, and a Fun Exercise
I’ve thought more about CRISPR and genome editing over the past year than ever before, ending up devoting a chapter to it in my upcoming popular science biophysics book. The ability to cut, paste, and edit strands of DNA inside living cells is truly amazing, an advance that deserves all the hype that it’s received … Continue reading CRISPR, the Nobel Prize, and the “Forgotten Man”
On July 4, I finished a draft of the fourth and final part of Building Life, my popular-science book on biophysics. There’s still a lot to revise, based in part on comments from my editor and others on Parts 1-3 and, I’m sure, comments to come on Part 4, but nonetheless I’m delighted to say … Continue reading Book draft done!
Update May 12, 2020: I intend to start the course during the week of May 18, 2020. If you’re interested in taking it, please do the following by May 15, 2020: (i) Get the up-to-date syllabus here; (ii) Write your name and email address on this sheet if you haven’t already contacted me; (iii) Note … Continue reading An informal image analysis course
About a new paper from my lab  on why gut bacteria swim, and whether their host cares. Many bacteria swim. It’s a great way to explore one’s surroundings, run away from toxins, or move toward regions with more food. Over the past several years, as we’ve used 3D microscopy to peer inside zebrafish to … Continue reading Putting the brakes on gut bacteria
I’ve been working on a popular science book about biophysics, writing as well as illustrating it. I’m about three-quarters done, hopefully on track for my contractually obligated completion date later this year. The book isn’t a secret, but I haven’t broadly announced it, nor have I posted a summary. So here it is: an announcement and … Continue reading Book Announcement: Building Life!
About a new paper from my lab  on how membranes flow through water, featuring our shortest title ever! For many years I’ve been interested in the physical properties of cell membranes, properties determined in large part by the underlying lipid bilayer. Bilayers are remarkable materials, and my research group has measured characteristics such as … Continue reading Watching membranes do nothing
Synopsis: In a recent paper from my lab , we report on watching gut bacteria get pummeled by low doses of antibiotics. The antibiotics induce changes in the spatial organization of the microbes, with major consequences for their ability to persist in the gut. Motivations At high enough doses, antibiotic drugs will kill bacteria, or at … Continue reading An intestinal amplifier for antibiotics
Synopsis: I describe a short activity for high school students on visualizing protein structures and etching them in wood. Challenge: If you’re familiar with proteins, you might like to ask yourself before you get to Part 2: If you were to show non-scientists a few protein structures, which structures would you pick? 1. Background: SAIL … Continue reading Etching proteins — SAIL recap, 2019