What is Biophysics?

Biophysics applies the principles and techniques of physics to biology. More exactly, biophysicists use physics and its related sciences of physical chemistry, electrical engineering, mathematics, and computer science to research basic biological questions. Sometimes, though, the physics necessary to answer a biology research question hasn't been developed yet, so a biophysicist may do basic research in the physical sciences as well.

The problems biophysicists study are the ones that can benefit from a physical and mathematical approach, and usually involve energy transformations, radiation, electrical and magnetic fields, or information processing. The biological problems tackled by biophysicists can range from the structure of small molecules to ecology or evolutionary theory. Most biophysicists work on problems of vision, photosynthesis, muscle contraction, ion pumps, nerves, or the determination of molecular structures.

Biophysics is very similar to bioengineering, from which it differs mostly in the goal of the research. The main aim of biophysics is to understand biological systems, while the aim of bioengineering is to make practical devices.

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