The use of methods from the physical sciences to aid in the study of biological systems.

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11
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1answer
333 views

What is the transmembrane 'Positive-Inside Rule' nowadays? Has the definition changed over time?

First definition. Two publications by von Heijne in 1989 and 1992 coined the 'Positive-Inside rule' and showed it's practical value in topology prediction of transmembrane helices. It was clearly ...
3
votes
1answer
188 views

What biological processes can affect the temperature of the shadow a tree casts?

Assuming two trees have similar shape and leaf coverage, could differences in the biological processes among them lead to differences in the temperature of the shadow they cast? What biological ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the mass of a pigeon tail feather?

There is question at Space.SE If I drop a feather from orbit, would it burn up or “hit” the ground? there is an attempt to answer the question, but the mass of pigeon tail feather and possibly the ...
4
votes
2answers
130 views

Why do negative ions flow into a cell in an inhibitory synapse, even though a neuron has a negative resting potential?

In my spare time I have been reading an introductory Psychology textbook and this question came to my mind after reading about action potentials. I have no previous knowledge in chemistry so if I do ...
2
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0answers
43 views

Book-recommendation: plant biophysics [closed]

I'm a physicist by training am looking to learn more about the biophysics of plants. Can you give me your recommendation of good resources on plant biophysics? Books are preferred.
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Why don't phospholipid bilayers dissolve?

I just started learning about the structure and composition of cell's membrane and there is something that I fail to understand. The membrane is composed of a phospholipid bilayer. The phospholipid ...
3
votes
1answer
161 views

Explanation of ECG in MI using an electrostatic model

I found a paper presenting an electrostatic model to explain the ECG recorded in various leads. This model essentially calls for considering the depolarization wavefront to be the major contributing ...
4
votes
1answer
58 views

How does loss of the electrochemical gradient result in heat production?

As far as I understand, uncoupling of the flow of protons and ATP-synthase provides a bypass for protons between the outer and the inner membrane of mitochondria so that the protons don't have to go ...
4
votes
1answer
55 views

Wearing sunglasses during a solar eclipse [closed]

Note: I had asked this on Physics, but it is off-topic there due to being about safety. On the BBC's guide to eclipse-watching, Dr Lucie Green says: Watching an eclipse with normal sunglasses ...
3
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0answers
42 views

Infrared emitting diode eye safety

I'm thinking of creating my own laser tag system and am a bit concerned about the eye safety aspect. Most of the homebrew system I've seen use the TSAL 6100 ...
4
votes
2answers
420 views

Mechanism behind negative conductance of ion channels

I am struggling to understand negative conductance shown on I-V curves on ion channels. Mechanistically, negative conductance means that inward (or outward) current increases when voltage across ...
4
votes
2answers
293 views

How to conceptualize the action potential?

In my AP Biology class, we were taught that action potentials are not electrical impulses in the same way current travels through a wire. Rather, we were taught that action potentials are changing ...
4
votes
2answers
330 views

Proteins that give color (without fluorescence)

Is there proteins that have strong color, that could be seen without the need of UV and with naked eyes (with white light) - in mammalian cells? Searching for reporter, something like GFP, but that ...
3
votes
2answers
67 views

Determining how much energy a plant takes in?

I asked a question on WorldBuilding.SE, "Are diamond berries possible?". This led to asking a question on Chemistry.SE about the amount of energy required to burn a 1 ct. diamond (−6.527kJ). The ...
7
votes
1answer
286 views

What is the reason behind high resting membrane potential of pacemaker cells?

Pacemaker cells have high resting membrane potentials of -50 to -40 mV, whereas normal cells have their resting membrane potential around -70 mV. Which ions, and what kind of channels are responsible ...
7
votes
1answer
482 views

Why does the membrane of a neuron not stay at its depolarized state?

When an action potential is transmitted along the axon, the membrane reaches its depolarized state by opening Na+ channels. Both K+ (potassium) and Na+ (sodium) are now on both sides with close to ...
3
votes
1answer
118 views

What governs the distribution of blood vessels?

Whenever someone is sick, doctor places 2 fingers on wrist & observes the heart-beat-rate by feeling pulses of a certain artery. To me it seems the distribution of blood vessels are pretty ...
6
votes
1answer
101 views

Software recommendation for protein in electric field modeling? [closed]

I'd appreciate a suggestion for software to compare models of two proteins in an alternating electric field. The more detail, or perhaps direction towards an existing and similar paper, the better. ...
4
votes
1answer
42 views

What is the statistical relationship between radioactivity and mutation rate?

This question tries to narrow down the scope of that question. What is the statistical relationship between radioactivity and mutation rate? By how much would the mutation rate be lowered in a ...
3
votes
1answer
410 views

What does these $\Delta \Delta G$ numbers signify?

I was reading a paper and came across this table showing $ \Delta \Delta G$ numbers of different nucleotide sequences in DNA/RNA. I know that $\Delta G$ is free energy and $ \Delta \Delta G$ is ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

How do birds deal with their eyes drying out at high speeds?

My eyes tear up when cycling at 15 mph, which is nothing compared to bird airspeeds. Do birds continuously produce lots of tears and blink a lot, or do the eyes self-moisturize from the inside ...
5
votes
1answer
75 views

Stretching and compressing bones

The Young's modulus of elasticity when a bone is stretched is : 16×109 and when it is compressed, it is 9×109 N/m2. That means, change in length will be more if you compress a bone as compared to ...
6
votes
1answer
671 views

Why do most organisms have negative supercoiled DNA?

It has been observed that in nature most organisms have negative supercoiled DNA and that few organisms have positive supercoiled DNA. Some of the organisms that have the positive supercoiled DNA live ...
8
votes
1answer
509 views

What is the difference between organelle membranes?

Cells and organelles are contained in lipid bilayers. I'm particularly interested in eukaryotic organelle bilayers and the biophysicochemical differences between them. Many papers assume a ...
2
votes
0answers
624 views

How can the directionality of a protein structure be defined?

For a DNA molecule, you can define directionality using the convention of a 5'-3' direction on the Sense strand. However, using an N to C convention for a protein doesn't work since the ends may be on ...
3
votes
0answers
49 views

How to get a pdb file of a single atom?

I am trying to get a pdb file that contains a single atom, it doesn't matter if it's Hydrogen or another atom. How can I obtain this? Are there any pdb files with just a single atom available to ...
3
votes
1answer
76 views

Is there any knowledge of physics can be applied in to evolution?

I have asked a similar question in Biology.SE (What physics knowledge can be applied to biology of organisms and ecosystems?), but it just about organisms and ecosystems, not evolution. After watching ...
7
votes
1answer
227 views

Double stranded nucleic acids are more 'durable' than single stranded nucleic acids?

I'm struggling with a question I've been asked. "Why is double stranded genetic material more 'durable' than single stranded one?" I know that double stranded genetic material is more stable due to ...
5
votes
1answer
486 views

What physics knowledge can be applied to biology of organisms and ecosystems?

In the wiki page of Biophysics: Biophysics spans all scales of biological organization, from the molecular scale to whole organisms and ecosystems. But after searching on the internet; the ...
5
votes
1answer
109 views

Criteria for compound action potential thresholds

As opposed to action potential thresholds (which are binary yes/no events), electrophysiological thresholds of compound action potentials are arbitrary. Mostly a certain noise level is picked and when ...
9
votes
2answers
335 views

How do diving marine mammals avoid decompression sickness?

How do marine mammals, whose very survival depends on regular diving, manage to avoid decompression sickness or "the bends?" Do they, indeed, avoid it?
7
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2answers
2k views

How do marine mammals control buoyancy?

Presumably, as a whale or seal dives, its lungs get compressed by the increasing water pressure, and it gets less buoyant. Under this model, for a given amount of air taken in at the surface, the ...
14
votes
1answer
268 views

Effect of pupil responses on the electroretinogram

The electroretinogram (ERG) is a measure of electrical activity of the retina. It is typically recorded from the cornea with a wire electrode or gold-foil electrode. Generally, the the ERG is ...
16
votes
1answer
562 views

How fast can a human run?

I'm a runner (cross country) and I'm always amazed at how fast Olympic sprinters are. There's a lot of hype about those in the 100-meter dash being the fastest in the world, and we're constantly ...
1
vote
1answer
118 views

How non-invasive blood glucose concentration measurement work?

Diabetes patients need to conduct the “fingerstick” a few times a day. One of the mechanisms of "fingerstick" is to take small amount of blood sample and put it onto a test strip. The enzyme on the ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

How non-invasive blood glucose concentration measurement work? [duplicate]

Diabetes patients need to conduct the “fingerstick” a few times a day. One of the mechanisms of "fingerstick" is to take small amount of blood sample and put it onto a test strip. The enzyme on the ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the difference between rheobase and threshold?

Neuronal tissues can be excited by electrical stimulation. Two commonly encountered characteristics for electrically stimulating nerve cells is the threshold and the rheobase. My question is what the ...
6
votes
2answers
440 views

Problems understanding membrane potential

I understand that membrane potential is the difference of the extracellular and intracellular ionic charges, due to their concentrations. We say that the extracellular space has a charge of 0 and then ...
6
votes
4answers
588 views

Is human vision sensitive to frequency or wavelength?

In a vacuum, there is a one-to-one correspondence between light frequency ($\nu$) and wavelength ($\lambda$), ie. $\lambda=c/\nu$. But in a refractive medium, $\lambda=v/\nu$, so while the frequency ...
7
votes
1answer
290 views

What keeps the resting potential of neurons constant at -70 mV?

I know the sodium-potassium pump pumps out 3 Na+ ions and pumps in 2 K+ ions per reaction so the negative charge in the axon increases. However, once the voltage (difference of charge inside and ...
7
votes
2answers
329 views

Can a single axon propagate multiple simultaneous action potentials?

I have not been able to locate any research that indicates whether a single axon of a neuron or nerve cell can conduct multiple simultaneous (i.e. spatially separate) action potentials. I am aware ...
6
votes
2answers
363 views

How efficient is the human body at metabolizing food?

My friend and I were having a discussion over how "efficient" human digestion is. If a human ate a 1000 calorie hamburger, how many of those calories (how much energy) does the body process into ...
2
votes
1answer
108 views

How to measure the total number of cells in an average human body?

I have got one assignment to calculate the approximate sum total of all cells in the human body. How to tackle this problem? I know that the current statistics is $10^{13}$ cells. I wanted some hints. ...
2
votes
1answer
158 views

How to estimate the DNA density in human sperm head? [closed]

I have got an estimate of sperm head volume from internet.Like consider it as a disk of order 4-5µm. Now I wanted to find the DNA density in the sperm head. How to find that?
2
votes
1answer
45 views

What is the biding site code recognized by the parts of the spliceosome

Another question about another Youtube video. At 0:50, the splicing process begins to remove the non-coding section of the DNA (intron), so the different parts of the spliceosome attach to the borders ...
6
votes
1answer
94 views

What regulates the timing of the motion of molecular machines during DNA Replication?

This question is about this video I found on Youtube. I just want to know what is the mechanism which regulates the timing of motion of the parts of these molecular machines. I know that those big ...
2
votes
1answer
116 views

How Ants know about Earthquake?

How does an ant know about Earthquake is it because of an organ or due to other factors?
2
votes
1answer
47 views

Kinesin-5 / cytoplasmic dynein spatial density distribution in neurons

Is there some way to experimentally determine the density distribution of Kinesin and Dynein in a Neuron? Fluorescence labeling would be impossible(?) as GFP markers would probably alter the motor ...
2
votes
2answers
68 views

What are some useful physical information of a protein?

Beside energy and heat, I don't know any useful physical information of a protein. Can you help me list some of it. Somethings like Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy to provide protein structure ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

Muscle force/energy relationship

I found the Hill muscle model, which helps relate the force a muscle can generate to its change in length over time (its "contraction velocity"). Is there a similar model to get an idea of the energy ...