Biophysics

The biophysics major integrates the physical principles that are part of the core material found in a traditional physics major with areas of interest in the life sciences. Offering many possible avenues via molecular/cellular, biomechanical,
organismal and/or physiological sequences, the major is appropriate for students interested in attending graduate school in physics or biophysics and provides a solid background for students planning a career in the health fields.

Learning Outcomes of the Program In Biophysics

Students who have completed a major in Biophysics, when confronted with a natural phenomenon, should be able to examine, model and analyze the system and effectively communicate the findings.

Specifically, students should be able to:

  • • Develop a conceptual framework for understanding the system by identifying the key physical principles, relationships, and constraints underlying the system.
  • • If required, develop a physical experiment to analyze the system within the framework. This includes:
  • • designing the experiment;
  • • making basic order-of-magnitude estimates;
  • • working with standard data-measuring devices such as oscilloscopes, digital multi-meters, signal generators, etc.;
  • • identifying and appropriately addressing the sources of systematic error and statistical error in their experiment.
  • • Translate that conceptual framework into an appropriate mathematical format/ model.
    • a. If the mathematical model/equations are analytically tractable, carry out the analysis of the problem to completion (by demonstrating knowledge of and proficiency with the standard mathematical tools of physics and engineering).
    • b. If the model/equations are not tractable, develop a computer code and/ or use software/programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, Maple, Python) to Science 265 numerically simulate the model system.
  • • Use with proficiency standard methods of data analysis (e.g., graphing, curvefitting, statistical analysis, Fourier analysis, etc.).
  • • Intelligently analyze, interpret, and assess the reasonableness of the answers obtained and/or the model's predictions.
  • • Effectively communicate their findings (either verbally and/or via written expression) to diverse audiences.

Learn more about the Biophysics major at the Keck Science Department Website.