Introduction to Probability and Statistics - see link in Pre-requisite section
Applied Mathematics MAT00034I or equivalent - see link in Pre-requisite section
Physics students can use Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics PHY00013H as a pre-requisite if necessary.
|A||Autumn Term 2019-20|
The module aims to
Introduce students to the major notions and modern applications of statistical mechanics, modelling of the structure and dynamics of biological and soft materials
Demonstrate a variety of mathematical techniques, from stochastic to continuous, required to describe the behaviour of materials at widely separated scales
Teach students to read, analyse and discuss current scientific literature in the field of soft matter and biological materials
By the end of this module students should
Be able to describe a wide variety of phenomena in soft and biological matter using the unifying mathematical language of statistical mechanics
Solve problems usingcalculus of variations
Have gained experience of working with recently published papers in the field of soft matter and be able to succinctly summarise their results.
Develop problem-solving skills and abilities to treat problems using a set of different but complementary approaches
Ability to read and analyse interdisciplinary literature
[Pre-requisite modules: students should have taken Introduction to Probability and Statistics MAT00004C or Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics PHY00013H.]
The following topics will be covered:
Soft matter and biological materials as subjects of statistical mechanics (SM).
Mechanical equilibrium as energy minimisation problem. Protein buckling as a bifurcation.
Introduction to fundamentals of SM. Temperature and probability.
Ligand-receptor binding as a statistical mechanical problem.
Entropy. The principle of free energy minimisation. Thermodynamic and entropic forces.
Canonical formalism of SM and examples of biological systems: optical trap, mechanosensitive ion channel, and phosphorylation of proteins.
One-dimensional matter: basic models for protein structure. Random walk and the entropic origin of elasticity.
Two-dimensional matter: structure and energetics of bubbles, drops and cell membranes. Surface tension and wetting phenomena.
Mixing cocktails: phase transitions. The mean field theory.
Topics in nonequilibrium and active matter
In addition to lectures, the students will work with recently published papers and will learn to succinctly summarise and present their results.
|Task||Length||% of module mark|
45 minute presentation
|University - closed examination
Soft Matter in Physics & Biology
|Task||Length||% of module mark|
|24 hour open exam
Re-assessment exam - Soft Matter in Physics & Biology
Current Department policy on feedback is available in the student handbook. Coursework and examinations will be marked and returned in accordance with this policy.
R. Phillips et al. The physical biology of the cell. Garland science (2013).
S. J. Blundell and K.M. Blundell. Concepts in thermal physics. OUP (2010).
M. Doi. Soft matter physics. OUP (2013).
D.-G. De Gennes et al. Capillarity and Wetting Phenomena. Springer (2012).
P. M. Chaikin, T. C. Lubensky. Principles of condensed matter physics. CUP (2000).
T. A. Witten. Structured fluids. OUP (2004).
Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses
The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.
Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.