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Fall 2015

 

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Physics (PHYS)
120 Willamette, 541-346-4751
College of Arts & Sciences
Course Data
  PHYS 171   The Physics of Life >3 4.00 cr.
Explores how physical laws guide the structure, function, and behavior of living organisms, and examines the physical properties of biological materials. Topics span microscropic and macroscopic scales.
Grading Options: Graded for Majors; Optional for all other students
Instructor: Ursell TE-mailHomepage Office:   375 Willamette Hall
Phone:   (541) 346-5231
Office Hours: 1100 - 1200 W  
 
  CRN Avail Max Time Day Location Instructor Notes
  14988 6 50 1000-1150 tr 100 WIL Ursell T  

Final Exam:

0800-1000 w 12/09 100 WIL
Academic Deadlines
Deadline     Last day to:
September 27:   Process a complete drop (100% refund, no W recorded)
October 4:   Drop this course (100% refund, no W recorded)
October 4:   Process a complete drop (90% refund, no W recorded)
October 5:   Drop this course (75% refund, no W recorded; after this date, W's are recorded)
October 5:   Process a complete drop (75% refund, no W recorded; after this date, W's are recorded)
October 7:   Add this course
October 7:   Last day to change to or from audit
October 11:   Withdraw from this course (75% refund, W recorded)
October 18:   Withdraw from this course (50% refund, W recorded)
October 25:   Withdraw from this course (25% refund, W recorded)
November 15:   Withdraw from this course (0% refund, W recorded)
November 15:   Change grading option for this course
Caution You can't drop your last class using the "Add/Drop" menu in DuckWeb. Go to the “Completely Withdraw from Term/University” link to begin the complete withdrawal process. If you need assistance with a complete drop or a complete withdrawal, please contact the Office of Academic Advising, 364 Oregon Hall, 541-346-3211 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday). If you are attempting to completely withdraw after business hours, and have difficulty, please contact the Office of Academic Advising the next business day.

Expanded Course Description
What are you made of? This simple question both puzzles and fascinates scientists. It is easy to make a list of your "components" – cells, bones, muscles, etc. – but this is neither interesting nor illuminating. What is it about your flesh that makes you "squishy?" Would you be better off with a skeleton of wood rather than bone? If you shrank a whale to the size of a bacterium, could it swim the same way? These questions, like many at the forefront of contemporary science, bring together concepts from a variety of disciplines, mixing together biology, chemistry and physics.

This course will explore topics in biophysics and biomaterials. We will us readings, discussions, and hands-on activities to study the physical properties of biological materials, as well as the constraints these properties place on living organisms. We'll also explore the behavior of "complex" soft materials – for example gels and foams – and their connections to biological materials. There are no scientific prerequisites, and mathematics in the course will be at the level of basic algebra.

Beyond exploring the exciting areas of contemporary science, our goals will be to improve critical reasoning abilities and writing and presentation skills, especially with respect to quantitative data.

This course will satisfy the requirement of "Science Group" courses, as it will develop students scientific reasoning abilities, introduce the basic methods of data visualization and mathematics, and examine the foundations of biophysics and related fields.

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