BE 262 - Physical Biology Bootcamp


This course provides an intensive introduction to thinking about the beauty and mystery of the living world from a quantitative perspective. Our first foray into this approach will be to use “street fighting mathematics” to perform order of magnitude estimates on problems ranging from how many photons it takes to make a cyanobacterium to the forces that can be applied by cytoskeletal filaments. These modeling efforts will be complemented by the development of physical models of phenomena such as gene expression, phase separation in nuclei and cytoskeletal polymerization. We will also use Python to write computer code to analyze real-world quantitative experiments. No previous experience in coding is presumed, though for those with previous coding experience, advanced projects will be available.

Where and When?

Each day will have a schedule roughly of the form:

  • 9:00-11:30am class
  • 11:30am - 1:00pm break
  • 1:00-2:00pm talk
  • 2:15pm-4:00pm class
  • 4:15 pm - 6:00pm computational session

Our first meeting will take place on Tuesday, September 7th. Sunday, September 12th is a day off, and the course will conclude on Tuesday, September 14th. There will be a brief introduction to the course, and then each of you will have 60 seconds to deliver a lightning talk in which you quickly tell us who you are, where you are from, and what you are excited about. For these talks, send your single-slide presentation as a PDF to Rob (phillips [at] pboc [dot] caltech [dot] edu) by 5pm on Sunday, Sept. 5 in PDF FORMAT (no exceptions).