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Readings Physics 131

Page history last edited by Joe Redish 11 years, 2 months ago

 BERG > Physics Course Overview > HHMI Development page


Physics 131: Fundamentals of Physics for Biologists I

This course is intended for biology majors and pre-health care professionals. The physics topics chosen are selected for these students and the contexts emphasize authentic biological examples. Prerequisites for the course include:

  • One year of college biology (BSCI 105 and 106 or the equivalent)
  • One semester of college chemistry (CHEM 131 or the equivalent)
  • One year of college mathematics (MATH 130 and 131 or the equivalent -- calculus and an introduction to probability).

The materials created for this class are "in-process" drafts. We expect to revise and expand them significantly in the 2012-2014 period. Comments and suggestions should be sent to Prof. E. F. Redish.



These readings are intended as a base for a wikibook that can serve as a base from which students can start.  Each link connects to a webpage of content materials. Those listed in bold were explicitly assigned in the Fall of 2011. The unbolded pages were optional reading. Note these are linked materials.  They are not intended to be read as a linear textbook.  For example, some of the math elements are linked to elements that occur much later.  They were read at the appropriate time. They are not intended as a replacement for all the components present in a traditional textbook.


Readers will notice the absence of sample solved problems, for example, and problems for student homework and in-class discussions. In our delivery of this class they are used in conjunction with an extensive set of clicker questions, problems for group problem solving, and homework problems (to be distributed later).


Class homepage and description (Fall 2011)




Introduction to the class


Thinking about Thinking and Knowing


Math Background


Modeling with mathematics


Using mathematics in science


Mathematics Recap




The Main Question: How do things move?


Where and When


Kinematic Variables


Laws of Motion


Newton's Laws



Kinds of Forces


Linear momentum


Macroscopic description of matter


Macro models






Heat and temperature




Energy: The Quantity of Motion


Microscopic description of matter


The Micro to Macro Connection


Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics


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