Biophysics UBC
PHYS 305 - Section 201 Term 2, Jan 2020 - April 2020
Instructor: Steven Plotkin
Office: Henn 401, Physics Building
Email: steve*
Course hours: Mon, Wed, Fri: 3:00-4:00
Hennings Room 304
Office Hour: Wednesday, 4:00-5:00, and by appointment
Grader: Shawn Hsueh , Email: hsueh*
Grader's office hours: Thursday 11:00-12:00 (Hennings 405)
(* append (at) phas dot ubc dot ca, and mention PHYS305 in the subject of your email, please.)

Course Policies:

  1. There will be in-class questions and problems in the form of worksheets, which will be graded for credit (see grade breakdown below). These include i-clicker type questions and longer written problems. i-clicker help is here.
  2. There will be homework assignments, which are the best way to prepare for the midterm and final exam. Copying solutions results in a zero and your name is reported to the department head (please do not copy solutions). HWs are due at the beginning of class, when they will be collected by a grader, and solutions may be discussed. If solutions are discussed, late assignments will not be accepted and count as zero points. Otherwise late assignments are 20% off per day, i.e. 80%, 60%, and so on. Even if you miss the deadline, it is still a good idea to do the HWs. It is the best way to prepare for the the final exam.
  3. Classes officially end on April 8, and Final Exams run from April 14-29. The date and place for the final exam is TBD
  4. No documents/notes/formulae sheets are allowed at the final exam. I will provide these along with the exam.
  5. During class, short questions or clarifications from your neighbor are fine, however extensive chatting or long social conversations are inappropriate and not tolerated.
  6. Open notebook computers are not allowed during class. Conversations by cell phone texting are not allowed during class. Sorry no exceptions.


Your final grade for the course will be computed from:

  • In class questions/problems 8%, HW: 22%, Midterm: 25%, Final Exam: 45%
  • The date and place for the midterm is Mon Feb 10, 3:00pm, in Henn 304. The last date to drop the course is Fri Feb 14. The date and place for the final exam is TBD
  • As per Faculty of Science rules, You must pass the final exam to pass the course; If a student fails the final exam, their grade is calculated based on the final exam alone.
  • There will be no makeup Final.


  • The required textbook for this course is one of either (choose your favorite):
  • Physical Biology of the Cell (2nd edition), by Rob Phillips, Jane Kondev, Julie Theriot, and Hernan Garcia. Student page is here
    Biological Physics: Energy, Information, Life, by Philip Nelson

  • There are several other books that can supplement these for learning Biological Physics. Copies of these books will all be placed on reserve in the main library (I. K. Barber). I suggest you peruse them there, pick one or two favorites, and then purchase. Copies of these books will be available at the bookstore (and of course through Amazon).
  • Molecular and Cellular Biophysics, by Meyer B. Jackson
    Physical Models of Living Systems, by Philip Nelson. Student page is here

    Copies of the above books will be on course reserve in the main library (I. K. Barber). See also the Library Online Course Reserves (LOCR) on Canvas.

    Course Syllabus:

    The course outline and syllabus of topics of will cover is here

    Other Resources:

    Page last changed on: Jan 4, 2020.