Biological Physics

What is Biological Physics?

In 1944, physicist Erwin Schrödinger published a short book, What is Life?, that changed the course of modern biology.

Could the behavior of a living organism be explained solely by physics and chemistry? Yes, it could, Schrödinger answered. "The obvious inability of present-day physics and chemistry to account for such events," he wrote, "is no reason at all for doubting that they can be accounted for by those sciences."

It's a sentiment that has lured generations of physical scientists to biology.

For the past half-century, researchers have applied the rigorous tools of physics to help answer Schrödinger's question and unravel the fundamental mechanisms of life, but some of the most exciting challenges remain.

What are we doing in Biological Physics at Illinois?

The Experimental Biological Physics Research faculty's study includes, but is not limited to single-molecule methods, single-molecule fluorescence microscopy and spectroscopy, nucleic acid and protein translocases, DNA protein interactions, molecular biology, structure and dynamics of biological macromolecules.

The Theoretical and Computational Biological Physics Research faculty's study includes such ideas as biomolecular modeling of molecular motors, multiscale modeling of pattern formation, photosynthesis, cellular mechanics, multiscale modeling of cells and bionanotechnology.


Yann Robert Chemla
Associate Professor
    Biological Physics
    161 Loomis Laboratory
    (217) 333-6501
    Nigel D. Goldenfeld
      Condensed Matter Physics
      3113 Engineering Sciences Building
      (217) 333-8027
      Martin Gruebele
      Professor of Chemistry and Physics
        Biological Physics
        A220 Chemical and Life Sci Lab
        (217) 333-6136
        Sascha  Hilgenfeldt
        Professor of Mechanical Science and Eng.
          332D Mechanical Engineering Bldg
          (217) 244-7252
          Seppe  Kuehn
          Assistant Professor
            Biological Physics
            331 Loomis Laboratory
            (217) 244-7880
            Thomas E. Kuhlman
            Assistant Professor
              Biological Physics
              315 Loomis Laboratory
              (217) 300-0207
              Yoshitsugu  Oono
                Cross-cutting Physics
                3111 Engineering Sciences Building
                (217) 333-2996
                Paul R. Selvin
                  Biological Physics
                  365 Loomis Laboratory
                  (217) 244-3371
                  Jun  Song
                    Biological Physics
                    3125 Engineering Sciences Building
                    Jaya G. Yodh
                    Research Assistant Professor
                      Biological Physics
                      320 Loomis Laboratory
                      (217) 244-1155