Download e-book for iPad: Biophysics: Searching for Principles by William Bialek

By William Bialek

ISBN-10: 0691138915

ISBN-13: 9780691138916

Interactions among the fields of physics and biology achieve again over a century, and a few of the main major advancements in biology--from the invention of DNA's constitution to imaging of the human brain--have concerned collaboration throughout this disciplinary boundary. For a brand new new release of physicists, the phenomena of lifestyles pose interesting demanding situations to physics itself, and biophysics has emerged as an enormous subfield of this self-discipline. the following, William Bialek presents the 1st graduate-level creation to biophysics aimed toward physics scholars.

Bialek starts by means of exploring how photon counting in imaginative and prescient deals vital classes concerning the possibilities for quantitative, physics-style experiments on various organic phenomena. He attracts from those classes 3 common actual principles--the significance of noise, the necessity to comprehend the extreme functionality of dwelling platforms with no beautiful to finely tuned parameters, and the severe function of the illustration and move of knowledge within the enterprise of lifestyles. Bialek then applies those rules to a vast diversity of phenomena, together with the keep an eye on of gene expression, belief and reminiscence, protein folding, the mechanics of the internal ear, the dynamics of biochemical reactions, and development formation in constructing embryos.

Featuring a number of difficulties and routines all through, Biophysics emphasizes the unifying energy of summary actual rules to inspire new and novel experiments on organic platforms.

  • Covers more than a few organic phenomena from the physicist's viewpoint
  • Features two hundred difficulties
  • Draws on statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, and similar mathematical options
  • Includes an annotated bibliography and special appendixes
  • Instructor's handbook (available simply to academics)

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Extra resources for Biophysics: Searching for Principles

Example text

In the frequency-of-seeing experiments, as noted above, the flash of light illuminated roughly 500 receptor cells on the retina, and subsequent experiments showed that one could find essentially the same threshold number of photons when the flash covered many thousands of cells. 1 s to make their decisions about whether they saw something. 1 photon/receptor cell/s or less. To place this number in perspective, it is important to note that vision begins when the pigment molecule rhodopsin absorbs light and changes its structure to trigger some sequence of events in the receptor cell.

4, this error probability is less than 3%. Thus, under these conditions, we can look at the current flowing across the rod cell membrane and decide whether we saw n = 0, 1, 2 . . photons with a precision such that we are wrong only on a few flashes out of 100. In fact, we might even be able to do better if instead of looking at the current at one moment in time we look at the whole trajectory of current versus time, but to do this analysis, we need a few more mathematical tools. Even without a more sophisticated 5.

Nonetheless, it satisfying to see, in Fig. 8, that the threshold light intensity, where a response occurs 50% of the time, is varying systematically with the dark-noise level. It is certainly true that operating at lower temperatures allows the detection of dimmer lights, or equivalently, more reliable detection of the same light intensity, as expected if the dominant noise source were thermal in origin. These experiments support the hypothesis that visual processing in dim lights really is limited by input noise and not by any inefficiencies of the brain.

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Biophysics: Searching for Principles by William Bialek


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