Home

academics

HST A01
Freshman Seminar: Quantitative Biology

Term: Fall

Course Director(s): Leonid A. Mirny
Time:
T 3-5pm
Location:
MIT: E25-101
Course Website:
None
Prerequisite:
None
Restrictions:
MIT Freshman Advising Seminar
MIT Units:
2-0-4 [P/D/F] (N-Level Credit)
Harvard Units:
Unknown
In the last decade, biomedical research became a quantitative, data-rich field. A single biological experiment can produce gigabytes of data. How can we use these data to understand biological processes and build physical models? Through interactive games, puzzles and seminars, we will learn how to estimate (guesstimate) numbers in biology and in everyday life. We will use this skill to learn about DNA and molecular motion, energy and evolution, human genetics, and the human brain. We will also discuss computational and algorithmic problems that emerge when large volumes of biological data need to be analyzed. Together we will read selected papers - classical publications about the discovery of the DNA double helix and modern ones about the sequencing of the human genome. By mimicking classical experiments in class, we will explore how physics and quantitative thinking can help to solve some of the most challenging problems in biology.