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Physik-Institut Disordered and Biological Soft Matter


Courses in pure physics

Classical Physics

Phy111 Phy121  

Full year course covering introductory Physics for 1st year Physics major students covering classical mechanics, thermodynamics, electrodynamics and optics. In classical mechanics, Newtonian mechanics of points as well as continuum mechanics of rigid and deformable bodies is treated leading to the classical conservation laws of momentum, energy and angular momentum. Energy conservation is extended in thermodynamics, where heat engines, phase transitions and the microscopic picture of irreversible behaviour is treated. Finally, electrodynamics introduces the field theoretic description of electric and magnetic phenomena finishing with an application of these insights in the explanation of optical phenomena. 

Modern Physics

Phy131 Phy141  

Full year course covering introductory modern Physics for 2nd year Physics major students covering theory of relativity and introductory quantum mechanics. In quantum mechanics, atomic Physics including the origin of the periodic table and molecular interactions are treated. The main aspects treated are conceptual cases of the origin of the Schrödinger equation and de Broglie waves, finishing with a discussion of Bell inequalities and entanglement.

Soft condensed Matter Physics


One semester course for third year Physics students introducing soft matter, optical techniques and pattern formation. Building on Thermodynamics and solid state Physics, this course introduces the main interactions in soft condensed matter, where the interaction energies are on a similar scale as the thermal energy. In this case, several instabilities are possible and the physical basis and some fluid dynamics realizations of pattern formation are discussed in this context. Finally, we treat some of the common optical investigation techniques, such as light scattering and microscopy.

Nuclear and Particle Physics


Introductory nuclear physics at the Bachelor level. The course is part of the physics curriculum at the University of Konstanz. Based on experimental observations, a description of the relevant nuclear forces and the standard model of particle physics is given. In addition, several applications of nuclear physics, such as radio-dating, nuclear reactors and NMR are discussed. The lecture is complemented with tutorials consisting of problems and short seminars on subjects not treated in the course of the lecture.

Condensed Matter Physics


Master level course covering different aspects of condensed matter. In particular phase transitions and renormalisation, with examples from superconductivity, magnetism and liquid crystals. In addition, optical properties of matter, especially semiconductors.

PHY 117/127 alt - Introductory Physics for Biologists and Chemists

Full year introductory Physics class dealing with classical mechanics and thermodynamics geared towards students of Biology and Chemistry. The physical principles are introduced on examples from the life sciences. In addition relevant subjects from intermediate Physics, such as non-equilibrium processes will be introduced as well.

Introductory Physics for Biology


One semester introductory Physics class geared towards students of Biology. The physical principles of waves, optics, mechanics thermodynamics and electricity are introduced on examples from the life sciences.

Courses in biological physics

PHY431 - Biology for Physicsists

This lecture gives an introduction to biological problems and techniques for people with a background in a quantitative science, such as physics and computer science. In a first part, the different molecular players in biology will be introduced, whereas in a second part their behaviour in the non-equilibrium situation in biology is discussed. Finally, we will studysome specific problems, such as the transcription of a gene, learning in neural networks, allometric scaling in metabolism, and navigation in birds and insects.

Courses in quantitative biology

BIO253 - Experimental methods in physical biology

Introduction to modern characterization methods in biology: What are the
fundamentals behind protein structures, imaging of morphogen gradients
and neural activity? Microscopy from fluorescence to x-ray; NMR from
structure determination to imaging; scattering from light scattering to
x-ray crystallography; single molecule and single cell manipulation and
force measurements.

BIO321 - Modern Microscopy

Lecture given in the context of a practical block course on modern microscopy techniques. Mainly focused on Fluorescence based techniques.

BIO513 - Master in quantitative and systems biology

As part of the Master's study in biology at the University of Zurich, there is a specialization in quantitative and systems biology. The courses described here are part of this Master's programme, a more detailed description can be found here