Life is unique form of existence of matter, allowing the living system to reproduce, grow, adapt to the environment, exchange substrates with the environment, maintain homeostasis, respond to stimuli and evolve. Although the precise definition of life is challenging, intuitively we all can clearly distinguish living systems from inorganic matter. Still, function of biological structures is strictly based on the same physical principles that describe the inorganic world. In this course, we will discuss physical concepts applied in a broad range of biological fields starting from molecular level (molecular motors including rotary motors, neurotransmission, protein folding, biological membrane potentials), trough principles of human vision, hearing, voice, and breathing to movements (cellular movements, blood flow, flying of birds and insects ets.) and self-organization of viruses and physical principles of biological evolution.
The course aims at the illustration of exciting applications of Physics in understanding living systems. During the first seminar, all topics will be briefly presented by the tutor and distributed among the participants. During the semester, each student will present a lecture on one of the topics based on literature discussed in advance with the tutor.