DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS
Introduction to the structure, properties, and function of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and membranes. In depth study of the physical basis of selected systems including vision, nerve transmission, photosynthesis, enzyme mechanism, and cellular diffusion. Introduction to spectroscopic methods for monitoring reactions and determining structure including light absorption or scattering, fluorescence, NMR and X-ray diffraction. The course emphasizes reading and interpretation of 128 the original literature.
3 HR./WK.; 3 CR.
Prereq.: 1 yr. of Math, 1 yr. of Physics (elective for Physics Majors and Biomedical Engineering students).
Textbook and other suggested material:
No textbook. The course uses a combination of primary literature and web-based scientific researces (i.e. the protein databank, genebank, open-source structural visualization software.)
After successfully completing this course, students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate familiarity with the structure and properties of biological macromolecules
2. Describe the relationship between structure and function in these molecules
Explain and quantify the intermolecular forces that bring about these 3-dimensional structures
3. Demonstrate familiarity with the experimental techniques that scientists use to investigate these molecules.
4. Utilize web-based resources for structural bioliogy.
1. The chemical structure and properties of amino acids and nucleic acids
2. The 3-dimensional structure of DNA and RNA, and their function
3. The primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structure of proteins
4. Web-based resources for examining structures and quantifying structural relationships between proteins
5. The relationship between 3-dimensional structure and function in proteins and nucleic acids
6. Intermolecular forces that underlie macromolecular structure
7. The statistical thermodynamic formalism used to describe macromolecular structure and function
8. Calorimetric and spectroscopic methods used in determining macromolecular stability
9. Molecular recognition in biology and its thermodynamic origins
10. Electron and atomic force microscopy
11. X-ray crystallography
12. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
13. Molecular simulation
two 75 minute classes
Relationship of course to program outcomes:
The outcomes of this course contribute to the following departmental learning outcomes:
a. students will be able to synthesize and apply their knowledge of physics and mathematics to solve physics-related problems in a broad range of fields in classical and modern physics, including mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics and statistical physics, optics, quantum mechanics, and experimental physics.
c. students will be able to communicate their knowledge effectively and in a professional manner, in both oral and written forms.
d. students will be able to work cooperatively with other students and with faculty.
faculty-directed research within the department or elsewhere.
f. students will be able to use computers effectively for a variety of tasks, including data analysis, instructional-technology (IT) assisted presentations, report or manuscript preparation, access to online information sources, etc.
g. students of other dissciplines will be able to synthesize and apply their knowledge of physics and mathematics to solve physics-related problems at an appropriate introductory level in important fields of classical physics, including mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, optics, and experimental physics, as appropriate to their majors.
h. students of other disciplines will have the background in physics needed to perform well in advanced courses in their own disciplines for which introductory physics courses are a prerequisite.
2. Homework assignments
3. Results of quizzes
4. Class participation
5. Results of Final Exam
Person who prepared this description and date of preparation:
Academic Integrity and Plagiarism
The CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity can be found at
This policy defines cheating as “the unauthorized use or attempted use of material, information, notes, study aids, devices or communication during an academic exercise.” The CUNY Policy on plagiarism says the following about plagiarism (the CUNY Policy can be found in Appendix B.3 of the CCNY Undergraduate Bulletin 2007 -2009 as well as the web site listed above):
Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s ideas, research or writings as your own. The following are some examples of plagiarism, but by no means is it an exhaustive list:
1. Copying another person’s actual words without the use of quotation marks and footnotes attributing the words to their source.
2. Presenting another person’s ideas or theories in your own words without acknowledging the source.
3. Using information that is not common knowledge without acknowledging the source.
4. Failing to acknowledge collaborators on homework and laboratory assignments.
5. Internet plagiarism includes submitting downloaded term papers or parts of term papers, paraphrasing or copying information from the internet without citing the source, and “cutting and pasting” from various sources without proper attribution.
The City College Faculty Senate has approved a procedure for addressing violations of academic integrity, which can also be found in Appendix B.3 of the CCNY Undergraduate Bulletin.”
DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS