|Professor Henry Greensidefirstname.lastname@example.org||919-660-2548||Physics 097|
|Professor John Merceremail@example.com||919-660-7354||Bio Sci 239|
Note: One goal of Physics 174 is to help freshman and sophomores learn about biophysics so that they could consider majoring in biophysics, see the the Biophysics major webpage. But the course should be of interest to any Duke undergraduate who would like to learn about how the conceptual and quantitative ways that physicists think help one to to understand and to appreciate biology, and how in turn biology suggests many interesting and often deep problems for physicists.
We also encourage you to look at the two undergraduate (but upper-level) biophysics texts (see below) that we have placed on reserve in Perkins library. Either book would make a good reference if you plan to become a biophysics major.
Laptops and cellphones are not to be used during class. These devices are highly distracting and substantially weaken the learning experience, not just for a student using one of these devices but for the other members of the class and for the instructors.
Please read your email at least once each day. There will be postings of course announcements, class-related files, updated grades, and talks of interest to the class. It is important that you stay in regular electronic contact with the course via email and via Piazza.
|Course Component||Percent of Total Grade|
|Attendance and class participation||10%|
|Group presentation and paper||20%|
As a half-credit course that meets only once per week, there are only 14 classes over the semester. Further, many classes will involve class discussion, group collaborations, and guest presentations. For these reasons, you must attend all the classes to get full credit. If you are not able to attend a class, please email Professors Greenside and Mercer in advance (email firstname.lastname@example.org) and provide a reasonable excuse such as illness, religious observance, or involvement with some official Duke activity.
The way that Professors Greenside and Mercer will take attendance will be to hand out a one-minute end-of-class questionnaire at the beginning of each class. One minute before the class ends, we will ask you to write your name, the date, and the single question that you most wish to have asked during class. We will use your questions to get a sense of what was understood or not understood in each class, and will try to answer some of your questions by posting answers a few days later.
Each student in the class will be assigned to a group of 2-3 students who will work together and with the course instructors to prepare and then present a 17-minute talk to the class of some journal article related to biophysics. Each member of a group will get the same grade for the presentation. The groups' grade will be based on criteria listed in the Guideline to Class Presentations and reflect aspects like: Were you able to identify the purpose, methods, and implications of your assigned journal article? Were you able to create quality slides for the presentation? And was the oral presentation itself done well?
For all weeks except the three during which there is a formal lecture with related homework, students will write a weekly blog entry of at least 500 words (which is about about two double-spaced pages) about what they have heard in class. The blog is a key way that you demonstrate that you are actively and creatively thinking about biophysics each week.
Your weekly blog will be graded in a binary way, as OK or not-OK. Your blog entry will not be OK if you didn't write at least 500 words or if your entry was poorly written, say because it was hard to read (you didn't spend the time to organize your thoughts and write clearly) or because your entry didn't have any good insights (e.g., all you did was regurgitate facts, without thinking about them critically). At the end of the course, you will get full credit for your blog entries if you have at least twelve OK entries (so you can skip or do poorly on two of the required fourteen blog entries). Otherwise, you will get zero for the blog contribution to your course grade.
Your first blog entry will get an automatic OK provided you write at least 500 words since you will not have gotten feedback yet about how to write your entries.
Professors Greenside and Mercer are also glad to meet with you, for example to talk about the course, to chat about biophysics, or even to talk about Duke or about life in general. We do not have fixed office hours, but will try to meet with you as soon as possible after you ask to meet with one of us. To request a meeting, you can send both of us an email simultaneously via the email address email@example.com or send email individually to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com . You can also call us at 919-660-2548 (Greenside) or 919-660-7354 (Mercer).
If you are in the Physics or Biology buildings, you can also drop by our offices, Physics 097 for Prof. Greenside or Biology 239 for Prof. Mercer to say hello. We would enjoy the chance to talk with you.