Major Physics: Biological Physics (82 credits)

Offered by: Physics     Degree: Bachelor of Science

Program Requirements

The B.Sc. Major Physics: Biological Physics program keeps a strong core of foundational physics and specializes through courses in biology, mathematics, physiology, computer science, and chemistry. Complementary courses provide background in molecular and cell biology, computer science, and organic chemistry, whereas introductory and advanced biophysics courses offered by the Physics Department as integrative courses. This program provides students with the skills necessary to continue on to graduate studies in biophysics/biological physics, or for research careers in hospital, industrial, or university settings.

Required Courses (63 credits)

Bio-Physical Science Core (27 credits)

  • BIOL 219 Introduction to Physical Molecular and Cell Biology (4 credits)

    Offered by: Biology (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Biology (Sci) : An introduction to molecular and cell biology from a physical perspective. Techniques and methodologies, both experimental and computational, are included in the presentation of each thematic module.

    Terms: Fall 2019

    Instructors: Stephanie Weber, Jacalyn Vogel, Alanna Watt, Adam Hendricks (Fall)

    • Prerequisite(s): BIOL 112; CHEM 110 and CHEM 120; MATH 140, MATH 141 and MATH 133; PHYS 131 and PHYS 142; or the equivalents of these courses.

    • Corequisite(s): MATH 222 or equivalent

    • Restriction(s): Not open to students who have taken or are taking ANAT 212, BIOC 212, BIOL 200, and BIOL 201, or BIEN 219. Only open to students in Bioengineering, Computer Science-Biology, Biology-Mathematics, Biology-Quantitative Biology, Chemistry-Biophysical Chemistry, and Physics-Biological Physics Options.

    • This course is meant to prepare students for related 300-level courses in Biology, Chemistry, Engineering and Physics.

  • BIOL 395 Quantitative Biology Seminar (1 credit)

    Offered by: Biology (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Biology (Sci) : Overview of concepts and current research in quantitative biology; theoretical ecology and evolution, computational biology, and physical biology.

    Terms: Fall 2019

    Instructors: Arnold Hayer (Fall)

    • Fall

    • Prerequisites: BIOL 219; or BIOL 200 plus BIOL 201 or ANAT 212 or BIOC 212; CHEM 212; COMP 202 or COMP 204 or COMP 250; MATH 222; or permission of instructor.

    • Restriction: Only open to U2 students in the following programs: B.Sc.; Major and Honours in Biology; Quantitative Biology, B.Sc.; Major and Honours Computer Science and Biology, B.Sc.; Major Biology and Mathematics, B.Sc.; Major Physiology and Mathematics, B.Sc.; Major Physiology and Physics, B.Sc.; Major and Honours Chemistry; Biophysical Chemistry, and B.Sc.; Major and Honours Physics; Biological Physics.

  • CHEM 212 Introductory Organic Chemistry 1 (4 credits) *

    Offered by: Chemistry (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Chemistry : A survey of reactions of aliphatic and aromatic compounds including modern concepts of bonding, mechanisms, conformational analysis, and stereochemistry.

    Terms: Fall 2019, Winter 2020

    Instructors: Laura Pavelka, Danielle Vlaho, Michel Daoust (Fall) Danielle Vlaho, Laura Pavelka, Nathan Luedtke (Winter)

  • MATH 222 Calculus 3 (3 credits) *

    Offered by: Mathematics and Statistics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Mathematics & Statistics (Sci) : Taylor series, Taylor's theorem in one and several variables. Review of vector geometry. Partial differentiation, directional derivative. Extreme of functions of 2 or 3 variables. Parametric curves and arc length. Polar and spherical coordinates. Multiple integrals.

    Terms: Fall 2019, Winter 2020

    Instructors: Jeremy Macdonald (Fall) Jérôme Fortier (Winter)

  • MATH 223 Linear Algebra (3 credits)

    Offered by: Mathematics and Statistics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Mathematics & Statistics (Sci) : Review of matrix algebra, determinants and systems of linear equations. Vector spaces, linear operators and their matrix representations, orthogonality. Eigenvalues and eigenvectors, diagonalization of Hermitian matrices. Applications.

    Terms: Fall 2019, Winter 2020

    Instructors: Djivede Kelome (Fall) Jeremy Macdonald (Winter)

    • Fall and Winter

    • Prerequisite: MATH 133 or equivalent

    • Restriction: Not open to students in Mathematics programs nor to students who have taken or are taking MATH 236, MATH 247 or MATH 251. It is open to students in Faculty Programs

  • MATH 315 Ordinary Differential Equations (3 credits)

    Offered by: Mathematics and Statistics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Mathematics & Statistics (Sci) : First order ordinary differential equations including elementary numerical methods. Linear differential equations. Laplace transforms. Series solutions.

    Terms: Fall 2019, Winter 2020

    Instructors: Rosalie Bélanger-Rioux (Winter)

    • Prerequisite: MATH 222.

    • Corequisite: MATH 133.

    • Restriction: Not open to students who have taken or are taking MATH 325.

  • MATH 323 Probability (3 credits)

    Offered by: Mathematics and Statistics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Mathematics & Statistics (Sci) : Sample space, events, conditional probability, independence of events, Bayes' Theorem. Basic combinatorial probability, random variables, discrete and continuous univariate and multivariate distributions. Independence of random variables. Inequalities, weak law of large numbers, central limit theorem.

    Terms: Fall 2019, Winter 2020

    Instructors: Jose Andres Correa (Fall) Djivede Kelome, David B Wolfson (Winter)

    • Prerequisites: MATH 141 or equivalent.

    • Restriction: Intended for students in Science, Engineering and related disciplines, who have had differential and integral calculus

    • Restriction: Not open to students who have taken or are taking MATH 356

  • PHYS 319 Introduction to Biophysics (3 credits)

    Offered by: Physics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Physics : Emerging physical approaches and quantitative measurement techniques are providing new insights into longstanding biological questions. This course will present underlying physical theory, quantitative measurement techniques, and significant findings in molecular and cellular biophysics. Principles covered include Brownian motion, low Reynolds-number environments, forces relevant to cells and molecules, chemical potentials, and free energies. These principles are applied to enzymes as molecular machines, membranes, DNA, and RNA.

    Terms: Winter 2020

    Instructors: Paul Wiseman (Winter)

  • PHYS 329 Statistical Physics with Biophysical Applications (3 credits)

    Offered by: Physics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Physics : This interdisciplinary course introduces Statistical Physics illustrated with modern biophysical applications. Principles covered include partition functions, Boltzmann distribution, bosons, fermions, Bose Einstein condensates, Ferni gases, chemical potential, thermodynamical forces, biochemical kinetics, and an introduction to noise and phase transitions in biology.

    Terms: Winter 2020

    Instructors: Paul Francois (Winter)

* Students who have taken the equivalent of CHEM 212 or MATH 222 can make up the credits with complementary 3 or 4 credits courses in consultation wit the program adviser.

Biology and Mathematics (6 credits)

  • BIOL 202 Basic Genetics (3 credits)

    Offered by: Biology (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Biology (Sci) : Introduction to basic principles, and to modern advances, problems and applications in the genetics of higher and lower organisms with examples representative of the biological sciences.

    Terms: Winter 2020

    Instructors: Nam Sung Moon, Laura Nilson, Tamara Western (Winter)

    • Winter, Summer

    • 3 hours lecture, 1 hour optional tutorial

    • Prerequisite: BIOL 200.

    • Restriction: Not open to students who have taken or are taking LSCI 204.

  • MATH 314 Advanced Calculus (3 credits)

    Offered by: Mathematics and Statistics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Mathematics & Statistics (Sci) : Derivative as a matrix. Chain rule. Implicit functions. Constrained maxima and minima. Jacobians. Multiple integration. Line and surface integrals. Theorems of Green, Stokes and Gauss. Fourier series with applications.

    Terms: Fall 2019, Winter 2020

    Instructors: Charles Roth (Fall)

Physics (30 credits)

  • PHYS 230 Dynamics of Simple Systems (3 credits)

    Offered by: Physics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Physics : Translational motion under Newton's laws; forces, momentum, work/energy theorem. Special relativity; Lorentz transforms, relativistic mechanics, mass/energy equivalence. Topics in rotational dynamics. Noninertial frames.

    Terms: Fall 2019

    Instructors: Hong Guo (Fall)

    • Fall

    • 3 hours lectures

    • Prerequisite: CEGEP Physics or PHYS 131.

    • Corequisite: MATH 222

    • Restriction: Not open to students taking or having passed PHYS 251

  • PHYS 232 Heat and Waves (3 credits)

    Offered by: Physics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Physics : The laws of thermodynamics and their consequences. Thermodynamics of P-V-T systems and simple heat engines. Free, driven, and damped harmonic oscillators. Coupled systems and normal modes. Fourier methods. Wave motion and dispersion. The wave equation.

    Terms: Winter 2020

    Instructors: Robert Rutledge (Winter)

    • Winter

    • 3 hours lectures

    • Prerequisites: CEGEP Physics or PHYS 142, and CEGEP chemistry or CHEM 120, and PHYS 230.

    • Restriction: Not open to students taking or having passed PHYS 253

  • PHYS 241 Signal Processing (3 credits)

    Offered by: Physics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Physics : Linear circuit elements, resonance, network theorems, diodes, transistors, amplifiers, feedback, integrated circuits.

    Terms: Winter 2020

    Instructors: Jonathan Le Roy Sievers (Winter)

    • Winter

    • 2 hours lectures; 3 hours laboratory alternate weeks

    • Prerequisite: CEGEP physics or PHYS 142.

  • PHYS 257 Experimental Methods 1 (3 credits)

    Offered by: Physics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Physics : Introductory laboratory work and data analysis as related to mechanics, optics and thermodynamics. Introduction to computers as they are employed for laboratory work, for data analysis and for numerical computation. Previous experience with computers is an asset, but is not required.

    Terms: Fall 2019

    Instructors: Bradley Siwick (Fall)

    • Fall

    • 6 hours of laboratory and classroom work

    • Corequisite: PHYS 230 or PHYS 251

  • PHYS 258 Experimental Methods 2 (3 credits)

    Offered by: Physics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Physics : Advanced laboratory work and data analysis as related to mechanics, optics and thermodynamics. Computers will be employed routinely for data analysis and for numerical computation, and, particularly, to facilitate the use of Fourier methods.

    Terms: Winter 2020

    Instructors: Thomas Brunner (Winter)

    • Winter

    • 6 hours of laboratory and classroom work

    • Prerequisite: PHYS 257

  • PHYS 340 Majors Electricity and Magnetism (3 credits)

    Offered by: Physics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Physics : The electrostatic field and scalar potential. Dielectric properties of matter. Energy in the electrostatic field. Methods for solving problems in electrostatics. The magnetic field. Induction and inductance. Energy in the magnetic field. Magnetic properties of matter. Maxwell's equations. The dipole approximation.

    Terms: Fall 2019

    Instructors: Hong Guo (Fall)

  • PHYS 342 Majors Electromagnetic Waves (3 credits)

    Offered by: Physics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Physics : Maxwell's equations. The wave equation. The electromagnetic wave, reflection, refraction, polarization. Guided waves. Transmission lines and wave guides. Vector potential. Radiation. The elemental dipole; the half-wave dipole; vertical dipole; folded dipoles; Yagi antennas. Accelerating charged particles.

    Terms: Winter 2020

    Instructors: Guillaume Gervais (Winter)

  • PHYS 446 Majors Quantum Physics (3 credits)

    Offered by: Physics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Physics : de Broglie waves, Bohr atom. Schroedinger equation, wave functions, observables. One dimensional potentials. Schroedinger equation in three dimensions. Angular momentum, hydrogen atom. Spin, experimental consequences.

    Terms: Fall 2019

    Instructors: Jack Childress (Fall)

  • PHYS 449 Majors Research Project (3 credits)

    Offered by: Physics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Physics : A supervised research project.

    Terms: Fall 2019, Winter 2020

    Instructors: Sabrina Leslie (Fall) Sabrina Leslie (Winter)

    • Winter or Summer

    • 6 hours

    • Restrictions: U2 or U3 students in a Physics program, or permission of the instructor.

  • PHYS 519 Advanced Biophysics (3 credits)

    Offered by: Physics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Physics : An advanced biophysics course, with a special emphasis on stochastic and out of equilibrium physical processes in living matter.

    Terms: Winter 2020

    Instructors: Paul Francois (Winter)

Complementary Courses

(18-19 credits)
3 credits selected from:

  • COMP 202 Foundations of Programming (3 credits)

    Offered by: Computer Science (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Computer Science (Sci) : Introduction to computer programming in a high level language: variables, expressions, primitive types, methods, conditionals, loops. Introduction to algorithms, data structures (arrays, strings), modular software design, libraries, file input/output, debugging, exception handling. Selected topics.

    Terms: Fall 2019, Winter 2020

    Instructors: Elizabeth Patitsas, Giulia Alberini (Fall) Giulia Alberini (Winter)

    • 3 hours

    • Prerequisite: a CEGEP level mathematics course

    • Restrictions: COMP 202 and COMP 208 cannot both be taken for credit. COMP 202 is intended as a general introductory course, while COMP 208 is intended for students interested in scientific computation. COMP 202 cannot be taken for credit with or after COMP 250

  • COMP 250 Introduction to Computer Science (3 credits)

    Offered by: Computer Science (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Computer Science (Sci) : Mathematical tools (binary numbers, induction, recurrence relations, asymptotic complexity, establishing correctness of programs), Data structures (arrays, stacks, queues, linked lists, trees, binary trees, binary search trees, heaps, hash tables), Recursive and non-recursive algorithms (searching and sorting, tree and graph traversal). Abstract data types, inheritance. Selected topics.

    Terms: Fall 2019, Winter 2020

    Instructors: Michael Langer, Giulia Alberini (Fall) Reihaneh Rabbany, Giulia Alberini (Winter)

    • 3 hours

    • Prerequisites: Familiarity with a high level programming language and CEGEP level Math.

    • Students with limited programming experience should take COMP 202 or equivalent before COMP 250. See COMP 202 Course Description for a list of topics.

3 credits selected from:

  • PHYS 328 Electronics (3 credits)

    Offered by: Physics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Physics : Semiconductor devices, basic transistor circuits, operational amplifiers, combinatorial and sequential logic, integrated circuits, analogue to digital converters. The laboratory component covers design, construction and testing of basic electronic circuits.

    Terms: Fall 2019

    Instructors: Hsin Cynthia Chiang (Fall)

    • Fall

    • 2 hours lectures; 3 hours laboratory

    • Prerequisite: PHYS 241 or permission of instructor

  • PHYS 331 Topics in Classical Mechanics (3 credits)

    Offered by: Physics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Physics : Forced and damped oscillators, Newtonian mechanics in three dimensions, rotational motion, Lagrangian mechanics, small vibrations, normal modes. Introduction to Hamiltonian mechanics.

    Terms: Winter 2020

    Instructors: Simon Caron-Huot (Winter)

3 credits selected from:

  • PHYS 339 Measurements Laboratory in General Physics (3 credits)

    Offered by: Physics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Physics : Introduction to modern techniques of measurement. The use of computers in performing and analysing experiments. Data reduction, statistical methods, report writing. Extensive use of computers is made in this laboratory; therefore some familiarity with computers and computing is an advantage.

    Terms: Winter 2020

    Instructors: Walter Reisner (Winter)

    • Winter

    • 6 hours

    • Prerequisite: PHYS 241 or permission of instructor

  • PHYS 439 Majors Laboratory in Modern Physics (3 credits)

    Offered by: Physics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Physics : Advanced level experiments in modern physics stressing quantum effects and some properties of condensed matter.

    Terms: Fall 2019

    Instructors: Jack Childress (Fall)

    • Fall

    • 6 hours

    • Prerequisite: PHYS 339.

    • Corequisite: PHYS 446

    • Restriction: Not open to students with credit in PHYS 359 except with permission of instructor

3 credits selected from:

  • CHEM 514 Biophysical Chemistry (3 credits)

    Offered by: Chemistry (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Chemistry : Physical chemistry concepts needed to understand the function of biological systems at the molecular level, including the structure, stability, transport, and interactions of biological macromolecules.

    Terms: This course is not scheduled for the 2019-2020 academic year.

    Instructors: There are no professors associated with this course for the 2019-2020 academic year.

  • MATH 437 Mathematical Methods in Biology (3 credits)

    Offered by: Mathematics and Statistics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Mathematics & Statistics (Sci) : The formulation and treatment of realistic mathematical models describing biological phenomena through qualitative and quantitative mathematical techniques (e.g. local and global stability theory, bifurcation analysis and phase plane analysis) and numerical simulation. Concrete and detailed examples will be drawn from molecular and cellular biology and mammalian physiology.

    Terms: Winter 2020

    Instructors: Anmar Khadra (Winter)

  • PHGY 425 Analyzing Physiological Systems (3 credits)

    Offered by: Physiology (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Physiology : An introduction to quantitative analysis of physiological data, both to the mode of thinking and to a set of tools that allows accurate predictions of biological systems. Examples will range from oscillating genetic networks to understanding higher brain function. Modelling and data analysis through examples and exercises will be emphasized.

    Terms: Fall 2019

    Instructors: Erik Cook, Mladen I Glavinovic, Curtis L Baker, Maurice Chacron, Uri David Akavia (Fall)

  • PHYS 432 Physics of Fluids (3 credits)

    Offered by: Physics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Physics : The physical properties of fluids. The kinematics and dynamics of flow. The effects of viscosity and turbulence. Applications of fluid mechanics in biophysics, geophysics and engineering.

    Terms: Winter 2020

    Instructors: There are no professors associated with this course for the 2019-2020 academic year.

  • PHYS 434 Optics (3 credits)

    Offered by: Physics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Physics : Fundamental concepts of optics, including applications and modern developments. Light propagation in media; geometric optics and optical instruments; polarization and coherence properties of light; interference and interferometry; diffraction theory and applications in spectrometry and imaging; Fourier optics; selected special topics such as holography, lasers, beam optics, photonic crystals, advanced spectroscopy, stellar interferometry, quantum optics.

    Terms: Fall 2019

    Instructors: David Cooke (Fall)

    • Winter

    • 3 hours lectures

    • Prerequisite: PHYS 342 or PHYS 352, or permission of the instructor

  • PHYS 447 Applications of Quantum Mechanics (3 credits)

    Offered by: Physics (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Physics : One electron atoms, radiation, multielectron atoms, molecular bonds. Selected topics from condensed matter, nuclear and elementary particle physics.

    Terms: Winter 2020

    Instructors: Tamar Pereg-Barnea (Winter)

    • Prerequisite(s): PHYS 446

    • Restriction(s): Not open to students who have taken PHYS 436.

    • Restriction(s): Not open to students in Honours Physics or in Joint Honours in Mathematics and Physics.

    • 1. Winter

    • 2. 3 hours lectures

6 to 7 credits selected from:

  • BIOL 300 Molecular Biology of the Gene (3 credits)

    Offered by: Biology (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Biology (Sci) : A survey of current knowledge and approaches in the area of regulation of gene expression, post-transcriptional control of gene expression, and signal transduction.

    Terms: Fall 2019

    Instructors: Frieder Schöck, Nam Sung Moon (Fall)

  • BIOL 301 Cell and Molecular Laboratory (4 credits)

    Offered by: Biology (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Biology (Sci) : An introduction to laboratory techniques with a focus on methods used to investigate fundamental questions in modern cell and molecular biology. Techniques including gene cloning, DNA and protein isolation and manipulation are covered, along with functional analysis of genes and proteins, basic bioinformatics, and computer-based experimental design and data analysis.

    Terms: Fall 2019, Winter 2020

    Instructors: Huanquan Zheng, Paul Harrison, Rodrigo Reyes Lamothe (Fall) Huanquan Zheng, Rodrigo Reyes Lamothe (Winter)

    • Fall or Winter

    • 1 hour lecture and one 6-hour laboratory

    • Prerequisites:BIOL 200, BIOL 201 (or ANAT 212/BIOC 212) and BIOL 202; or BIOL 219 and BIOL 202.

    • Restrictions: Not open to students who have taken or are taking BIOC 300, or BIOC 220 and BIOC 320. Requires departmental approval.

    • For approval email anne-marie.sdicu [at] mcgill.ca. Specify your ID number as well as the term and two lab day preferences.

  • BIOL 303 Developmental Biology (3 credits)

    Offered by: Biology (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Biology (Sci) : A consideration of the fundamental processes and principles operating during embryogenesis. Experimental analyses at the molecular, cellular, and organismal levels will be presented and discussed to provide an overall appreciation of developmental phenomena.

    Terms: Winter 2020

    Instructors: Abigail Gerhold, Yong Rao, Daniel Dufort (Winter)

  • BIOL 306 Neural Basis of Behaviour (3 credits)

    Offered by: Biology (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Biology (Sci) : Neural mechanisms of animal behaviour; neuroethology; cellular neurophysiology, integrative networks within nervous systems; neural control of movement; processing of sensory information.

    Terms: Fall 2019

    Instructors: Jon Sakata, Joseph Alan Dent, Alanna Watt (Fall)

  • BIOL 313 Eukaryotic Cell Biology (3 credits)

    Offered by: Biology (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Biology (Sci) : Cell biology of eukaryotes focusing on the assembly and function of cellular structures, the regulation of transcription; the dynamics of the cytoskeleton and its motors; mechanics of cell division; cell cycle and checkpoints; nuclear dynamics; chromosome structure and behaviour and experimental techniques.

    Terms: Winter 2020

    Instructors: Stephanie Weber (Winter)

  • BIOL 316 Biomembranes and Organelles (3 credits)

    Offered by: Biology (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Biology (Sci) : The course focuses on biomembranes and subcellular organelles and their implications for disease. The topics include: protein and lipid biochemistry, membrane structure and transport; intracellular compartmentalization, protein sorting and modification, intracellular membrane trafficking; energy transfer, organization and dynamics of chloroplasts and mitochondria; extracellular matrix and cell walls.

    Terms: Fall 2019

    Instructors: Huanquan Zheng, Alanna Watt (Fall)

  • BIOL 551 Principles of Cellular Control (3 credits)

    Offered by: Biology (Faculty of Science)

    Overview

    Biology (Sci) : Fundamental principles of cellular control, with cell cycle control as a major theme. Biological and physical concepts are brought to bear on control in healthy cells..

    Terms: Winter 2020

    Instructors: Jacalyn Vogel, Paul Francois, Rodrigo Reyes Lamothe, Stephanie Weber, Arnold Hayer, Abigail Gerhold (Winter)

Faculty of Science—2019-2020 (last updated Mar. 18, 2019) (disclaimer)