phy1ls physics for life sciences




Credit points: 15

Subject outline

Students are introduced to the concepts underlying biophysics and medical physics. The states of matter are described and the thermodynamic properties and laws that govern biophysical processes on cellular and molecular scales are discussed. The medical physics required to understand functions of the human body and medical imaging are introduced. Students investigate waves and their application in medicine, nuclear energy, radioactivity, detection and use of radiation, and effects of radiation on living organisms. This introductory subject uses basic mathematical tools and requires no specific science background or previous experience in physics.

SchoolSchool of Molecular Sciences/LIMS

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorNarelle Brack

Available to Study Abroad StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 1 - UG

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules



Incompatible subjects PHY1SCA, PHY1SCB, PHY1LSA, PHY1LSB, PHY1MO

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Learning resources


Resource TypeTitleResource RequirementAuthor and YearPublisher
ReadingsPhysics Principles with ApplicationsRecommendedD.C. Giancoli (Global edition , 7 th edition)Pearson

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

01. Diagrammatically represent, analyse and / or solve conceptual and mathematical problems related to biophysics, thermal physics and radiation.

Students are assessed via 12 online quizzes and 11 problem-solving classes. In the online quizzes, students answer conceptual and mathematical multiple choice questions. In problem classes, students solve short answer problems. Students sit a mid-semester multiple choice quiz, and a final end of semester exam comprising short answer questions.

02. Use accurate terminology and appropriate SI units to describe physical phenomena related to biophysics, thermal physics and radiation.

Students are required to use appropriate terminology and SI units in all assessment elements (namely problem classes, online quizzes, laboratory reports and exams).

03. Perform experiments related to thermal physics and radiation using standard physics laboratory techniques, equipment and software and assess the data to check for inappropriate, irrelevant or spurious results.

Students complete six extended laboratory experiments and submit a report that indicates their ability to detail and assess experimental data. Students follow written and verbal laboratory instructions to conduct the experiments accurately and safely.

04. Explain and interpret laboratory results in the context of biophysics, thermal physics and radiation.

Students submit six laboratory reports detailing their interpretation of the results. The laboratory report mark contains a writing component.

05. Collaborate in pairs to complete laboratory experiments and submit reports.

The teamwork component of the laboratory report mark assesses the participation of each student in completing the experiment. Students are expected to submit their own individual report (as instructed in the laboratory sessions).

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne, 2019, Semester 2, Day


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Enrolment information

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorAlbert Juma

Class requirements

LectureWeek: 31 - 43
Three 1.0 hours lecture per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via blended.

Laboratory ClassWeek: 32 - 43
Six 2.0 hours laboratory class per study period on weekdays during the day from week 32 to week 43 and delivered via face-to-face.
"Labs will run in Weeks 2, 3, 4, 7, 9 and 11 of semester 2."

Problem Based LearningWeek: 31 - 43
One 2.0 hours problem based learning per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via face-to-face.


Assessment elementComments%ILO*
Laboratory reports/exercises (1500 word equiv)2002, 03, 04, 05
Online Quizzes (500 word equiv)2001, 02
One 2-hour written exam (2000 words equivalent)5501, 02
30 min online exam (500 words equivalent)Assessment will be held in Week 5 of semester.501, 02