LATEST:

From Proton to Neuron book cover

From Photon to Neuron: Light, Imaging, Vision

(Princeton Univ. Press, 2017). The hard copy edition is available from Princeton. There is an e-book edition, available for Kindle or via Google Play. Chapter 1 is freely available.
.

ALMOST NEW:

Student's Guide to Python for Physical Modeling

(with Jesse Kinder) (Princeton Univ. Press, 2015). The hard copy edition is available from Princeton. E-book editions are available from Amazon and Google Play
The book has an associated blog.

"An excellent stepping stone into the world of using Python in computational science.... After working through the chapters and their accompanying exercises, readers can expect not only to know how to write and read Python but also to achieve a thorough understanding for developing complex physical models and calculations." -- Kevin Thielen and Vivienne Tien in "Computing in Science & Engineering" May/June 2016

RECENT:

Physical models of living systems

(WH Freeman and Co, 2015), now available as an e-book via Google Play, Kindle, and CourseSmart. If you are looking for a hard copy, you may find a good deal from an Amazon affiliate, or here. Available soon in Chinese translation: 生命系统的物理建模

"Particularly compelling for its smooth integration of biological experiments, physical models, and computational exercises. Readers who complete the text will be well equipped with the computational and mathematical skills needed for a quantitative understanding of a range of biological systems.... Thanks to Nelson's skillful writing and the excellent accompanying online resources, this book will appeal to a broad audience and teach even a beginner how to solve problems numerically." -- Eva-Maria Collins in Physics Today

""Philip Nelson has done a terrific job.... There are numerous traits that make this text unique among the very many books of biological physics.... The presentation of materials is developed in an innovative fashion.... There is a nice balance between conceptual examples and end-of-the-chapter problems.... This book shows a nice intercalation of fundamental laws, brief descriptions of computational strategies for acquiring quantitative information, as well as their implications in biological physics and areas beyond that, including signaling processes, genetic switches, and cellular oscillators.... Physical Models of Living Systems... will benefit undergraduates as well as others with clear interests in genomics, proteomics, cellular signaling, bioengineering, regenerative medicine, and synthetic biology." -- Liviu Movileanu in American Journal of Physics 84 (6), June 2016

Student's Guide to MATLAB for Physical Modeling

(With Tom Dodson; free).

REFRESHED:

Biological Physics: Energy, Information, Life: With new art by David Goodsell

(WH Freeman and Co, 2014); now available via as an e-book from Amazon and from CourseSmart. Also available in translation: 生物物理学:能量、信息、生命.

"This book inspired me to write [my] book in the first place. Biological Physics is the most interesting and well-written textbook I have ever read." -- Peter M. Hoffman, Life's Ratchet
This 5th printing differs from the 4th by the updating of many of the beautiful drawings by David Goodsell. It also differs from the 3d and earlier printings by the addition of many new homework problems.











Phil Nelson

Physics and Astronomy University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104 USA phone: (215) 898-7001 fax: (215) 898-2010


email:

Sorry, but I get a lot of e-mail. If you are a student currently enrolled in a class that I teach, or a Biophysics major advisee, put that in the subject line. I want to reply, but if I don't --- please come see me. If you wish me to review a grant proposal, article for publication, or promotion case, please don't assume that your e-mail has been read or even seen. It may be necessary to get me on the phone if you need me to do those things.

Quote of the moment:

The physics community may stand or kneel.
I believe in the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics,
the second law of thermodynamics and the unitarity of the S matrix.

I acknowledge one vacuum for the basis of Hilbert space, the
inattainability of absolute zero and the nonobservability of phase.

I am willing to concede second quantization of fields, the
wave-particle duality and the path integral formulation of quantum
mechanics. 

I am reasonably comfortable with canonical quantization, the
manipulation of divergent quantities as though they were
infinitesimals, and the confinement of quarks.

I am willing to speculate on the possibility of supersymmetry above
present-day collider energies, the collapse of the wave packet upon
measurement, and the `true' number of dimensions of the Universe.

In less lucid moments I will even buy supergravity and the
introduction of local susy transformations on a manifold.

After a few drinks I will slur Yes to the suggestion that the
underlying structure of the Universe is a two-dimensional conformally
invariant field theory.

After prefrontal lobotomy I will declare that a unified field theory
encompassing all known particles and interactions is inevitable before
the turn of the century.

In the name of quantum mechanics, the Dirac equation, and the
compactification into itty-bitty circles of everything we don't
observe, Amen.

	-- S. Wilson and E. Lewis, 1986




Plain-English Videos

Book image

Plain-English Articles



Recent Talks