This is a personal website (not affiliated with Springer) accompanying the book:

The Physics of Living Systems

Springer Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics (2016)

by F. CLERI, Professor of Biophysics in the University of Lille

It has sometimes been said that “Boltzmann and Darwin cannot be right at the same time.”

Mmm... I beg to differ.

Biophysics  aims at explaining biological phenomena exactly with the same laws that apply to the rest of the Universe. The progressive discovery of similitudes between physical phenomena, notably in mechanics, energetics, electricity, and corresponding phenomena occurring inside living cells, has been the important motor of the recent, increasing interest in biophysics.

Following such great scientist like D'Arcy Thompson, J. S. B. Haldane, Archibald Hill, and the more recent Knut Schmidt-Nielsen, Steven Vogel, J. C. Pennycuick and few others, we think that biophysics is crucial in understanding how living organisms must conform to the inevitable bounds imposed by gravity, light, temperature, atmosphere, oceans of the Earth, and by the more general constraints deriving from such life-setting variables as the water phase diagram, oxygen diffusivity, molecular elasticity, to name just a few.

The physics inherent to living systems is immense and challenging. Where a physicist seeks mathematical rigor and experimental repeatability under extremely well controlled conditions, the biologist rather seeks inductive proof, statistical correlations, and performs hugely complex experiments with a whole bunch of competing (and often ill-known) free parameters.  Just because of such complementary approaches, the more one delves into the realm of biophysics, the more interesting questions and puzzling connections are there, waiting to be uncovered.

It is true that physics makes today available to biology its most advanced technologies, e.g. super-resolution imaging, atomic-force microscopy, or magnetic resonance spectroscopy. However, with a characteristic simplicity that has since long been lost in most other areas of physics, also simple experiments assembled in the backyard of the laboratory, or crystal-clear pieces of non-quantum, non-relativistic theory, or even a back-of-the-envelope calculation of a dimensionless number, can reveal crucial information about the living. Far from being a limitation, this represents instead a great advantage and a fascinating opportunity for young scientists.

In this website you will find:

  1. information about the book, its author, and some recent biophysics research subjects

  1. complementary resources, to take the maximum advantage from the book

  1. other information about biophysics-related meetings, workshops and events

Note that, for copyright reasons, access to some online resources is restricted only to users who purchased (individually or through their home institution) the print or electronic edition of the book.

©2016 by Fabrizio CLERI, some rights reserved (see detailed notices)

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