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
    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