Kaisa_2012_3_photo by Veikko Somerpuro

18.12.2019 at 08:00 - 7.1.2020 at 23:59



Master's Programme in Materials Research is responsible for the course.

Module where the course belong to:

  • MATR300 Advanced Studies in Materials Research.
    Optional for:
    1. Study Track in Computational Materials Physics
    2. Study Track in Medical Physics and Biophysics

The course is available to students from other degree programmes.

No obligatory background knowledge. Background information that would be helpful includes the basics of thermodynamics (statistical physics) and material physics and/or condensed matter physics, however these are not crucial.

Those interested in extending the understanding of biological systems should consider, for instance, also courses MATR332 Physics of Biological Systems and MATR333 Modeling of Biological Systems that are highly recommended.

After passing the course, the student will have basic knowledge about the topics discussed in the course. These include, in particular:

  • The structure and dynamics of soft biological systems.
  • The interactions operating in biological (soft) matter.
  • The processes and phenomena taking place therein.
  • The physical laws governing the processes.

Using these pieces of knowledge the student will be able to analyze and solve some relevant problems related to the physical features of biological soft matter.

First or second year of Master's studies.

The course is offered every year, autumn term.

The essentials of thermodynamics and statistical physics, followed by consideration of the most central aspects of polymer physics to understand the basis of the physics of biomolecules. Based on this solid footing, the course moves on to discuss the structure and the dynamics of biological and soft matter systems on both molecular and continuum scales. Particular attention will be paid to the interactions driving the self assembly of biological and soft matter systems, the electrostatics of these complexes, and the impact of physical interactions in biological function.

Lecture Notes (primary material). Further reading providing also the basis for the lecture notes, in order of relevance:

  • Masao Doi: Soft Matter Physics (Oxford University Press, 2013 (reprinted in 2017))
  • Rob Phillips, Jane Kondev, Julie Theriot, Hernan Garcia: Physical Biology of the Cell (Garland Science, 2012), selected chapters only
  • Ken Dill, Sarina Bromberg: Molecular Driving Forces (Garland Science, 2010), selected chapters only

Weekly lectures and exercises. Lectures include discussions of real-life applications in materials sciences and considerations of up-to-date research in the field. The exercises returned to the course assistant are scored and returned back to the student together with feedback discussed during the exercise sessions.

Final grade is based on the exam (100%). However, activity in carrying out the exercises is taken into account in the scoring: in practice, if about 60-80% (depending on the level of the exercise problems) of the exercises are completed during the course, it will certainly increase the final grade by one.

Exercises and final exam. Exercises are not compulsory but activity in performing exercises will have a positive impact on the score of the course.