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.


Nigel D. Goldenfeld
Swanlund Professor of Physics
    Condensed Matter Physics
    3113 Engineering Sciences Building
    (217) 333-8027
    Ido  Golding
      Biological Physics
      315 Loomis Laboratory
      Martin Gruebele
      Professor in Chemistry and Physics
        Biological Physics
        A220 Chemical and Life Sci Lab
        (217) 333-6136
        Sascha  Hilgenfeldt
        Professor in MechSE
          Condensed Matter Physics
          332D Mechanical Engineering Bldg
          (217) 244-7252
          Sangjin  Kim
          Assistant Professor
            Biological Physics
            159 Loomis Laboratory
            (217) 300-9833
            Zaida Ann Luthey-Schulten
            Murchison-Mallory Endowed Chair in Chemistry
              Biological Physics
              A544 Chemical and Life Sci Lab
              (217) 333-3518
              Sergei  Maslov
              Professor in Bioengineering
                Biological Physics
                3406 Institute for Genomic Biology
                (217) 265-5705
                Paul R. Selvin
                  Biological Physics
                  365 Loomis Laboratory
                  (217) 244-3371
                  Jun  Song
                  Founder Professor of Physics
                    Biological Physics
                    313 Loomis Laboratory
                    (217) 244-7750