Class time: MWF 9:05 – 9:55   Class location: Clough 423


  1. This schedule is tentative and subject to change. See WebAssign for the actual Reading Assignments to be completed before class on the corresponding day.
  2. Seminars suitable for review (for bucket point credit) are listed here.

Week 1

Vector Review
8/21 1 1 Introduction to the class
1.1 The disciplines: Physics, Biology, Chemistry, and Math
1.1.1 Science as making models
1.1.4 What Physics can do for Biologists
1.2 Thinking about Thinking and Knowing
1.2.1 The nature of scientific knowledge
1.2.3 Knowing-how-we-know icons
Course Overview
8/23 2 2. Modeling with mathematics
2.1 Using math in science
2.1.1 How math in science is different from math in math
2.1.2 Measurement
2.1.3 Dimensions and units Complex dimensions and dimensional analysis Changing units 
2.1.4 Estimation Useful numbers 


Modeling. Estimations.
8/25 3 2.2.3 The idea of algebra: unknowns and relationships Symbols in science
3.1.1 Coordinates
3.1.2 Vectors Adding vectors Vector addition Vector subtraction
3.1.3 Time 
Dimensions and Units.           Vectors. Position.

Week 2

How big is a worm?
8/28 4 2.2.5 Values, change, and rates of change Derivatives What is a derivative, anyway?
3.1.4 Kinematics, Graphs
3.2 Kinematic Variables 
3.2.1 Velocity Average velocity Instantaneous velocity Calculating with average velocity
Rate of change. Displacement. Velocity.
8/30 5 3.2.2 Acceleration Average acceleration Instantaneous acceleration Calculating with constant acceleration
3.2.3 Kinematics graphs and consistency Reading the content in the kinematics equations
Modeling motion with kinematics.
9/1 6 Modeling motion with Kinematics.

Week 3

The cat and the antelope
9/5 LABOR DAY (no class)
9/6 7 4.1 Newton’s Laws
4.1.1 Physical content of Newton’s Laws Object egotism Inertia Interactions Superposition Mass Reciprocity
Intro to Newton’s laws.
9/8 8 4.1.2 Formulation of Newton’s laws as foothold principles Quantifying impulse and force Newton 0 Free-body diagrams System Schema Introduction
Systems and Surroundings.
Free Body Diagrams.
Momentum-Impulse Theorem.

Week 4

Forces for objects & systems
9/11 9 Newton’s 1st law Newton’s 2nd law Reading the content in Newton’s 2nd law Newton 2 as a stepping rule
Newton’s first and second laws.
9/13 10 Newton’s 3rd law Using system schemas for Newton’s 3rd law Center of mass
4.2 Kinds of Forces 
4.2.1 Springs Realistic springs
Newton’s third law.                     Kinds of Forces.                       Springs.
9/15 11 Normal forces A simple model of solid matter Tension forces
Forces: springs, tension, and normal forces

Week 5

The spring constant of DNA
9/18 12 Forces: springs, tension, and normal forces, Examples.
9/20 13  4.2.2 Resistive forces Friction4.2.2.2 Viscosity Drag
Resistive forces: drag and viscosity
9/22 14 No reading Review for test

Week 6: TEST 1 Mon. 09/25

Propelling a paramecium
9/25 15 4.2.3 Gravitational forces Flat-earth gravity Free-fall in flat-earth gravity The gravitational field
Gravitational force
9/27 16 4.2.4 Electric forces Charge and the structure of matter Polarization Coulomb’s law
Electric force and polarization
9/29 17 Coulomb’s law Coulomb’s law — vector character Reading the content in Coulomb’s law
Coulomb’s law

Week 7

Electric force and Hydrogen bonding
10/2 17  The Electric field The electric field
10/4 18 4.3 Coherent vs. random motion
4.3.1 Linear momentum Restating Newton’s 2nd law: momentum
Coherent motion: momentum
10/6 19 No reading

Week 8

10/9 FALL BREAK (no class)
10/11 20 Momentum conservation Momentum conservation
10/13 21 1.1.3 Reductionism and emergence
4.3.2 The role of randomness: Biological implications
4.3.3 Diffusion and random walks
Random motion and emergence

Week 9

Gas properties and pressure
10/16 22 Fick’s law Reading the content in Fick’s fist law
Diffusion and Fick’s law
10/18 23 5. Macro models of matter
5.1.1 Density-solids
5.1.2 Young’s modulus
5.1.6 Soft matter Mechanical properties of cells
Solids and gels
10/20 24 No reading Review for test

Week 10: TEST 2 Mon. 10/24

Cell polarization and activation
10/23 25 5.2 Fluids
5.2.1 Pressure
I-2 The micro-macro connection
7.1 Kinetic theory: the ideal gas law
Basics of fluids: pressure
10/25 26 5.2.2 Archimedes’ Principle
5.2.3 Buoyancy Surface tension
Fluid statics: buoyancy
10/27 27 5.2.6 Fluid flow Quantifying fluid flow The continuity equation
Fluid flow

Week 11

Recitation: Fluid flow
Estimating capillariesHold the mayo
10/30 28 Internal flow — the HP equation Fluid flow with resistance
11/1 29 6.0 Energy: The Quantity of Motion
6.1 Kinetic energy and the work-energy theorem
6.1.1 Reading the content in the Work-Energy theorem
Kinetic energy and Work
11/3 30 6.2 Energy of place — potential energy
6.2.1 Gravitational potential energy
Potential energy: gravity

Week 12

Energy skate park
11/6 31 6.2.2 Spring potential energy
6.2.3 Electric potential energy
Potential energy: spring and electric
11/8 32 6.3 The conservation of mechanical energy
6.3.1 Interpreting mechanical energy graphs
Mechanical energy: conservation
11/10 33 6.3.2 Mechanical energy loss — thermal energy
6.3.3 Forces from potential energy
Loss of mechanical energy

Week 13

11/13 34 6.4.1 Energy at the sub-molecular level
6.4.2 Atomic and Molecular forces Interatomic forces The Lennard-Jones potential Chemical bonding
Electric potential energy and molecular forces
11/15 35 Practice with energy
11/17 37 No reading Review

Week 14: TEST 3 Mon. 11/20

Protein folding
11/20 38 5.3 Heat and temperature
5.3.2 Thermal properties of matter Thermal energy and specific heat Heat capacity Heat transfer
Thermal energy and heat flow
11/22 No reading Thanksgiving break
11/24 no reading Thanksgiving break

Week 15

Temperature regulation
11/27 39 Interlude 2: The Micro to Macro Connection
7. Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics
7.1 Kinetic theory: the ideal gas law
7.2 The 1st law of thermodynamics
First law
11/29 40 7.2.1 Organizing the idea of energy
7.2.2 Enthalpy
7.2.3 Thermodynamic equilibrium and equipartition Example: Degrees of freedom
Building up to Enthalpy
12/1 41 Why do we need a 2nd Law?
7.3.1 The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics: A Probabilistic Law
7.3.2 Implications of the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Entropy
Energy Sharing and Distributions

Exam Week

12/5 42 No reading Review
12/14 FINAL EXAM Time: 6:00-8:50 PM Location: TBD