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Final Reports for Physics 187

Word Document of Final Report Guidelines


Each student is responsible for producing a final paper and powerpoint presentation for Physics 187. Your report must introduce the field explaining what are the principal questions and discuss their significance in terms of both the underlying physical principles and their biological relevance. In addition, each report will present in greater detail one particular theoretical calculation and/or experiment. You audience is your fellow classmates. You may assume that we understand the fundamental physics and have taken the class, but you must explain the particular features of the system on which you are reporting at a sufficient level of detail that we all will learn some new physics and be able to understand the presented calculation or experiment. As a rough guide, you should expect reports to be seven to ten pages in length and to provide a reasonable set of references.

In addition, please prepare a fifteen-minute lecture on your report either via computer or on the white board. During that time you will explain your report to the class. At the end, there will be a five-minute question and answer period from the class (and from your professor!).  Be prepared to answer questions!

There are a number of topics that you can study for your report. Below I present a few options and some suggested references. All of the books referenced can be found in our library and all of the papers are already online on our class website.
Please look over these topics, skim some of the papers that you find interesting, and then make an appointment to talk to me about your proposed project. You are not required to choose one of these topics, but, if you wish to work on a different idea, please see me to get prior approval.

Proposed Topics:
Note in the following I refer to the following books.
1. Jackson = Meyer B. Jackson, Molecular and Cellular Biophysics. (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2010).
2. Nelson = Philip Nelson, Biological Physics: Energy, Information, Life. (W.H. Freeman, New York, 2004).
3. Howard = Jonathon Howard, Mechanics of Motor Proteins and the Cytoskeleton. (Sinauer Ass. Inc., Sunderland Massachusetts, 2001).
4. Berg = Howard C. Berg, Random Walks in Biology. (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1993).
5. Boal = David Boal, Mechanics of the Cell. (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2002).

1. Proteins – folding, mechanics, and function.
Books: Jackson Chapters 2,3, & 5. Nelson Chapters 9,10.

2. Semiflexible polymers and the cytoskeleton
Books: Jackson Chapter 3, Howard Chapters 6-9, Boal

3. Swimming at Low Reynolds Number
Books: Nelson Chapter 5 and Berg

4. Neurons and action potentials
Books: Jackson 11, 15, 16. Nelson 11 & 12.

5. The mechanics and thermodynamics of molecular motors
Nelson Chapters 10, 11. Howard

6. DNA and RNA
Jackson Chapters 3, 11.