Introduction to Biophysics

Module PH2007

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of WS 2013/4 (current)

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

available module versions
WS 2013/4WS 2011/2

Basic Information

PH2007 is a semester module in German or English language at Master’s level which is offered in winter semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Supplement to the general catalogue of special courses for Applied and Engineering Physics
  • Supplement to the general catalogue of special courses for condensed matter physics
  • Supplement to the general catalogue of special courses for nuclear, particle, and astrophysics

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 75 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2007 is Andreas Bausch.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


This module provides an introduction to the molecular biophysics. After a technical and historical motivation  the molecular components of biology are introduced and their physical properties discussed. It will be described how biology exploits the self-assembly processes to build complex nanomachines. Furthermore, physical methods for the study of biomolecules are introduced and the function of proteins is demonstrated on the bases of examples. The physical basis of pattern formation, as it appears for example in the morphogenesis, are introduced.

Learning Outcome

After successful completion of this module, the students are able to

  1. explain the structure, the structure and the various functions of proteins and to calculate the kinetics
  2. to understand and to explain the structure and the various functions of DNA and RNA 
  3. to study the kinetic control of enzymes on the basis of examples
  4. to understand the process of diffusion and the physical and biological implications and to describe it quantitatively
  5. to understand the basic mechanisms of self-organization and to describe it physically. 


No prerequisites in addition to the admission criteria for Master's studies.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

VO 2 Grundlagen der Biophysik Bausch, A. Mittwoch, 14:00–15:30
PS 2 Grundlagen der Biophysik Bausch, A. Mittwoch, 16:00–18:00

Learning and Teaching Methods

  • lecture
  • beamer presentation
  • exercises in individual and group work
  • discussion
  • student presentations


  • exercise sheets
  • current research papers


Textbooks for biophysics, e.g.:

  • E. Sackmann: Biophysik
  • Phil Nelson: Biological Physics: Energy, Information, Life
  • Rob Phillips: Physical Biology of the Cell
  • Meyer B. Jackson: Molecular and Cellular Biophysics
  • Alberts et al.: Molecular Biology of the Cell

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

In order to deepen and extend the contents of the lecture in the course of the seminar each student individually prepares a talk on a topic of current research as course work.

In an oral exam the learning outcome is tested using comprehension questions and sample problems. The module grade is the grade for this exam.

Exam Repetition

There is a possibility to take the exam at the end of the semester.

Condensed Matter

When atoms interact things can get interesting. Fundamental research on the underlying properties of materials and nanostructures and exploration of the potential they provide for applications.

Nuclei, Particles, Astrophysics

A journey of discovery to understanding our world at the subatomic scale, from the nuclei inside atoms down to the most elementary building blocks of matter. Are you ready for the adventure?


Biological systems, from proteins to living cells and organisms, obey physical principles. Our research groups in biophysics shape one of Germany's largest scientific clusters in this area.