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.

Faculty

Nigel D. Goldenfeld
Professor
    Condensed Matter Physics
    3113 Engineering Sciences Building
    (217) 333-8027
    Ido  Golding
    Adjunct Associate Professor
      Biological Physics
      (713) 798-1656
      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
          Sangjin  Kim
          Assistant Professor
            Biological Physics
            159 Loomis Laboratory
            (217) 300-9833
            Seppe  Kuehn
            Assistant Professor
              Biological Physics
              331 Loomis Laboratory
              (217) 244-7880
              Sergei  Maslov
              Professor of Bioengineering
                Biological Physics
                3406 Institute for Genomic Biology
                (217) 265-5705
                Yoshitsugu  Oono
                Professor
                  Cross-cutting Physics
                  3111 Engineering Sciences Building
                  (217) 333-2996
                  Paul R. Selvin
                  Professor
                    Biological Physics
                    365 Loomis Laboratory
                    (217) 244-3371
                    Jun  Song
                    Professor
                      Biological Physics
                      313 Loomis Laboratory
                      (217) 244-7750