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Biophysics (also biological physics) is an interdisciplinary science that applies theories andmethods of the physical sciences to questions of biology . Biophysics research todaycomprises of a number of specific biological studies. These studies do not share a unique identifying factor, or subjectthemselves to clear and concise definitions. This is the result of biophysics' relatively recent appearance as a scientificdiscipline. The studies included under the umbrella of biophysics ranges from sequence comparison to neural networks . In the recent past, biophysics included creatingmechanical limbs and nanomachines to regulate biological functions. Nowadays, these are more commonly referred to as belonging tothe fields of bioengineering and nanotechnology respectively. We may expect these definitions to further refine themselves.



Biophysics often does not have university-level departments of its own, but have presence as groups across departments withinthe fields of biology , biochemistry , chemistry , computer science , mathematics , medicine , pharmacology , physiology , physics , and neuroscience . What follows is a list of examples of how each department appliesit's efforts toward the study of biophysics. This list is hardly all inclusive. Nor does each subject of study belong exclusivelyto any particular department. Each academic institution makes it's own rules and there is much mixing between departments.

  • Biology and molecularbiology - Almost all biophysics efforts are included in some biology department somewhere. To include some: gene regulation , single protein dynamics, bioenergetics, patch clamping , phylogenetic tree , biological structures.
  • Biochemistry and chemistry - biomolecular structure, siRNA, nucleic acid structure.
  • Computer science - sequence comparison, neural networks.
  • Mathematics - population modeling, fluid dynamics.
  • Medicine and neuroscience - tackling neural networks experimentally (brain slicing) as well as theoretically (computer models), membrane permitivity, genetherapy, understanding tumors.
  • Pharmacology and physiology - channel biology, biomolecular interactions, cellular membranes, polyketides.
  • Physics - biomolecular free energy, biomolecular structures and dynamics, proteinfolding, stochastic processes, surface dynamics.

Many biophysical techniques are unique to thisfield. Some of the research traditions in biophysics were initiated by scientists who were physicists, although many of thescientists who call themselves biophysicists today are not.

Topics in biophysics and related fields

Famous biophysicists

Other notable biophysicists


  • Perutz M.F. Proteins and Nucleic Acids, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1962
  • Perutz M.F. The haemoglobin molecule.- Proc.Roy.Soc., B 173, 1969, pp. 113-140
  • Dogonadze R.R. and Urushadze Z.D. Semi-Classical Method of Calculation of Rates of Chemical Reactions Proceeding in PolarLiquids.- J.Electroanal.Chem., 32, 1971, pp. 235-245
  • Volkenshtein M.V., Dogonadze R.R., Madumarov A.K., Urushadze Z.D. and Kharkats Yu.I. Theory of Enzyme Catalysis.-Molekuliarnaya Biologia (Moscow), 6, 1972, pp. 431-439 (In Russian, English summary)

See also

External links

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