Physics 174 Syllabus, Fall 2016

Professor Henry Greenside   919-660-2548     Physics 097
Professor John Mercer   919-660-7354     Bio Sci 239
Course email:

Welcome      Time and Place      Prerequisites      What You Need      Class Policy     

Grading      Office Hours      References     


Time and Place


    The recommended background is knowledge at the AP level or higher in biology, physics, calculus, and chemistry, with biology and physics being more important than calculus and chemistry; the more you know about all these subjects, the more you will get out of the course. However, it is ok if you don't know one or more of these subjects since the course will be set up such that students with different backgrounds will be collaborating.

What You Need:

  1. A computer with access to the Internet and a modern browser like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. You will need to access the 174 webpage, the Duke Sakai website, the 174 Piazza website, and various other Internet resources.

  2. There are no required textbooks for this course. However, given the interdisciplinary nature of biophysics and the breadth of topics covered this semester, you should own a small personal library of hardcover textbooks corresponding to material covered in Duke introductory freshman courses in physics, chemistry, biology, and calculus. If you don't have copies of such books, you can purchase inexpensive used copies via the Internet.

    We also encourage you to look at the two introductory 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.

Class Policy


Office Hours


    The following two books will be on reserve in the Perkins Library for supplementary reading. These are commonly used books in upper-level undergraduate biophysics courses like Physics 414 at Duke.

    1. Biological Physics, Updated Edition, Philip Nelson (W. H. Freeman, 2007).

    2. Physical Biology of the Cell, Second Edition by Rob Phillips, Jane Kondev, Julie Theriot, and Hernan Garcia (Garland Science, 2012).

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