Physics 2: Life Sciences & Environment

University of Melbourne

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Physics 2: Life Sciences & Environment

  • Host University

    University of Melbourne

  • Location

    Melbourne, Australia

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    One of

    PHYC10001 Physics 1: Advanced

    PHYC10003 Physics 1

    PHYC10005 Physics 1: Fundamentals



    MAST10014 Foundation Mathematics 1

    MAST10015 Foundation Mathematics 2


    Hours & Credits

  • Host University Units

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    This subject aims to develop students’ understanding of the physics principles underpinning biological and environmental systems. It is designed for students with a sound background in physics, whose interests lie mainly in the biological sciences. Topics include:
    Fluids: blood pressure and the circulatory system, breathing and respiration (pressure in fluids, fluid flow, viscosity).
    Thermal physics: heating and cooling, energy balance of living organisms, ion movement across membranes (temperature and thermal energy, phase changes, heat transfer mechanisms, first law of thermodynamics, diffusion).
    Electricity and magnetism: bioelectricity, nerve conduction, electrical safety, power transmission, synchrotron, biological effects of electromagnetic fields (electric charge and field, electric potential, capacitance, electric circuits, resistance, magnetic fields and forces, Faraday’s law of induction).
    Atomic physics and lasers: fluorescence imaging and spectroscopy, laser surgery (structure of the atom, photons, spectroscopy, interaction of light with matter);
    Radiation: radiation safety, therapeutic uses of radiation (the atomic nucleus, isotopes, nuclear decay and radiation, physical and biological half-life, ionising radiation); and
    Imaging: modern biomedical imaging (X-rays, CT-scans and angiography, ultrasound imaging, positron emission tomography).

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.