From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Photosynthetic reaction center.
Biophysics is an interdisciplinary science that uses the methods of, and theories from physics to study biological systems. Biophysics spans alllevels of biological organization, from the molecular scale to whole organisms and ecosystems. Biophysical research shares significant overlap withbiochemistry, nanotechnology, bioengineering, agrophysics, and systems biology. |
Molecular biophysics typically addresses biological questions similar to those in biochemistry and molecular biology, but more quantitatively. Scientists in this field conduct research concerned with understanding the interactions between the various systems of a cell, including the interactions betweenDNA, RNA and protein biosynthesis, as well as how these interactions are regulated. A great variety of techniques are used to answer these questions. Fluorescent imaging techniques, as well as electron microscopy, x-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy (AFM) are often used to visualize structures of biological significance. Conformational change in structure can be measured using techniques such as dual polarisation interferometry and circular dichroism. Direct manipulation of molecules using optical tweezers or AFM can also be used to monitor biological events where forces and distances are at the nanoscale. Molecular biophysicists often consider complex biological events as systems of interacting units which can be understood through statistical mechanics, thermodynamics andchemical kinetics. By drawing knowledge and experimental techniques from a wide variety of disciplines, biophysicists are often able to directly observe, model or even manipulate the structures and interactions of individual molecules or complexes of molecules. In addition to traditional (i.e. molecular and cellular) biophysical topics like structural biology or enzyme kinetics, modern biophysics encompasses an extraordinarily broad range of research, frombioelectronics to quantum biology involving both experimental and theoretical tools. It is becoming increasingly common for biophysicists to apply the models and experimental techniques derived from physics, as well as mathematics and statistics (see biomathematics), to larger systems such as tissues, organs (e.g. see cardiophysics), populations and ecosystems. Additionally, biophysics is a bridge between biology and physics. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biophysics
Biology: Advanced Physics
Of all the advanced science disciplines, an emphasis on physics and scaling properties will have the greatest affect on biology, because biology studies the most complicated objects: living organisms. Airplanes and many other man-made objects can be complicated creations, yet in comparison to the more advanced forms of biology these man-made objects are relatively simple. In general, the importance of scaling properties increases with the complexity of the object or life form. For life; size matters. Beyond having a thorough understanding of physics fundamentals, a good understanding of scaling properties and the process of evolution are possibly the most important guiding concepts needed to comprehend biology. Open a standard college biology textbook and flip through the pages. For every few pages of the thousand some odd pages there will be a biology concept that is dependent on understanding Galileo's Square-Cube Law. What is currently missing from the biology textbook is the same thing that is now missing from the standard college physics textbook: a chapter near the beginning of the book explaining Galileo's Square-Cube Law. How does a water strider walk on water? How does a bat navigate through a cave or stay warm at night? How does a bumble bee fly? How does a gecko walk on the ceiling? How does a tree draw water up to its highest leaves? How...