What is Biological Physics?
Many physicists are drawn to the study of the physical principles and mechanisms by which living organisms survive, adapt, and grow. Biological physics is an applied science that lies at the boundaries of physics, chemistry and biology. Many physicists (like Max Delbrück and Francis Crick) have contributed profoundly to our understanding of life. Some have done fundamental experimental work in areas such as molecular structure and dynamics, photosynthesis, or cell membranes. Others have applied their mathematical skills to develop theories for neural networks, electron transfer and non-linear phenomena such as heart rhythms. Others have found that their skill as instrumentalists can change medicine, through such advances as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. All have experienced the excitement of working in a rich and interdisciplinary field.
The breadth and complexity of life science gives biological physics a very broad scope. Many biological physicists teach and do research in mainstream physics departments. A graduate degree in biological physics might also lead to a career in a medical school or hospital, or to research and development in government or industry. Graduate work in biological physics almost always involves teamwork and collaboration that cuts across the traditional boundaries of academic departments and colleges, as physicists work hand-in-hand with chemists, biologists, engineers, and others to reach goals that would be impossible for any one discipline.