Theoretical Biophysics 1

Module PH2017

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.

Basic Information

PH2017 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.

  • General catalogue of special courses
  • Specific catalogue of special courses for Biophysics

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 PH2017 is Martin Zacharias.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


  • Structure and function of biomolecules
  • Conformation and conformational dynamics
  • Macromolecular chain models
  • Folding and unfolding of biomolecules
  • Inter- and intramolecular interactions
  • Solvation of biomolecules
  • Electrostatic interactions
  • Protonation of biomolecules
  • Hydrophobic effect
  • Thermodynamics of structural transitions and folding
  • Energy landscape models of folding
  • Simulation of structure formation
  • Coarse-graining of biomolecules
  • Polyelectrolytes
  • Mechanism and specificity of enzyme reactions
  • Transition states
  • Enzyme kinetics
  • Coupled reactions

Learning Outcome

After participation in the Module the student will have a fundamental understanding of the various inter- and intramolecular forces that drive structure formation of biomolecules. The student understands the theoretical concepts to describe conformational states of biomolecules and conformational transitions. The student is able to apply theoretical concepts to analyse the thermodynamics and energetics of biomolecular structures


Keine Vorkenntnisse nötig, die über die Zulassungsvoraussetzungen zum Masterstudium hinausgehen.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

VU 4 Theoretische Biophysik 1 Zacharias, M. einzelne oder verschobene Termine
sowie Termine in Gruppen

Learning and Teaching Methods

lecture, beamer presentation, board work, exercises in individual and group work


practise sheets


  • Michel Daune, Molekulare Biophysik, Vieweg Verlag
  • Jacob Israelachvelli, Intermolecular and surface forces, Academic Press

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

In an oral exam the learning outcome is tested using comprehension questions and sample problems.

In accordance with §12 (8) APSO the exam can be done as a written test. In this case the time duration is 60 minutes.

Remarks on associated module exams

The exam for this module can be taken together with the exam to the associated follow-up module PH2018: Theoretical Biophysics 2 / Theoretische Biophysik 2 after the follwoing semester. In this case you need to register for both exams in the following semester.

Exam Repetition

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