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!
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!
I’ll continue describing a graduate biophysics course I taught in Spring 2015. In Part I, I wrote about the topics we covered. Here, I’ll focus on the structure of the course — books, assignments, in-class activities, and the students’ final project — and note what worked and didn’t work. (What didn’t work: popsicle sticks.) Click … Continue reading Recap of a graduate biophysics course — Part II
In Spring 2015 I taught a graduate biophysics course for the first time. It was a first in several ways: the course didn’t exist before, so I developed it from scratch, and it was also the first graduate course I’ve taught in my nine years as a professor! I’ve been thinking for months that I … Continue reading Recap of a graduate biophysics course — Part I
Next term, I’ll be teaching a brand-new graduate biophysics course. (It’s the first time teaching a graduate course in my eight years as a professor!) I’ve spent quite a while thinking of what should be in it and how the course should be structured. Here, I’ll just note my list of topics (below, with a … Continue reading T-minus 9 days for my graduate biophysics course
(I wrote a shorter version of this post for the META Center blog, here.) A large fraction of my research group’s efforts are devoted to understanding the structure and dynamics of gut microbial communities — the multitude of microbes that we, like all animals, house in our digestive tracts. Our approach is a very direct … Continue reading Glimpses of Gut Microbes
One of the reasons I went into Physics is the absoluteness of its claims: every proton has an electric charge; every bit of mass generates a gravitational field; and so on. One of the dizzying yet fascinating things about biology is, often, its lack of universality — nearly every statement one can make has some … Continue reading Giant germs, making a mockery of physics
Occasionally, things go exactly as I’d hoped. We’re discussing scaling in my Physics of Life class, starting with things like the scaling of volume and area with size. I mentioned in passing that this issue comes up in advertising, and since students seemed interested, I brought the following to the next class — an interactive … Continue reading How to lie with scaling
I was thrilled yesterday morning to learn that super-resolution microscopy is the subject of a Nobel Prize this year. (Or more accurately, that Eric Betzig, Stefan Hell, and William E. Moerner were awarded the Nobel Prize “for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy.”) Super-resolution microscopy is wonderful, as I’ve written before. In all its various … Continue reading The 2014 Nobel Prizes: Switched at Birth?
For a while I’ve thought I should write up a paper on my biophysics-for-non-science-majors course, just to document what its motivations are and how I’ve approached teaching it, in case it helps spur others to create similar courses. I’ve finally done this; a pre-print is on arXiv here: http://arxiv.org/abs/1410.0666 (“The Physics of Life,” an undergraduate … Continue reading Preprint: “The Physics of Life”