The use of methods from the physical sciences to aid in the study of biological systems. Note that biophysics questions are only allowed if they are mainly about physics.

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449 views

Quantum Computing and Animal Navigation

Someone sent me this link to a talk by Prof. Klaus Schulten from the University of Illinois: (my emphasis) Quantum Computing and Animal Navigation Quantum computing is all the rage nowadays. ...
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1answer
1k views

Why do I hear a deep rumble when I cover my ears?

Probably a trivial thing but a simple google search didn't show anything relevant about it. If I cover both of my ears with my hands, I hear a very deep rumble. If I slowly move my hands away the ...
6
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1answer
61 views

What happens at the point of welding iron?

What is the physics behind welding iron? It is obviously the electricity that causes the two metal parts to fuse but what is the role of the welding rod and why is it said to damage your eyes when you ...
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1answer
802 views

``What is life?'' by a physicist definition [closed]

The question is about defining ``What is life?'' in the field of Physics. Whether there is any (insightful) way of defining ``What is life?'' from physicists. There are pioneer works, including ...
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2answers
3k views

Are regular light bulbs better for the eyes than CFLs or “tube lights”?

I've heard that regular light bulbs with a filament are better for the eyes. Is the spectrum of one worse than the other? If so, are there any regulations for their use in industrial settings for ...
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0answers
101 views

How do proteins perform their function? [closed]

Let's, for example, take a ribosome. It is an enzyme that is in turn just a molecule that must follow the laws of physics. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it can be looked upon as a molecular machine ...
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246 views

Does this method of predicting the ratio of translational diffusion coefficients for a sphere and a sheet, work?

Imagine that I have a spherical particle of molecular weight $M$, volume $V$, and some experimentally observed center-of-mobility translational diffusion coefficient $D_{sphere}$ in water. I take ...
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6answers
1k views

Why do we lift our feet when we walk?

I'm not sure if this is a good question for here- albeit if I asked it somewhere else I'd want the physical argument. Why do we lift our feet when we walk, as opposed to doing something like shuffling?...
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2answers
7k views

How do stun guns not kill people?

Now, I've seen a lot of answers to this sort of question, but most of them provide answers that don't actually make sense from a physics perspective. As an example of such an answer, I've commonly ...
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2answers
25k views

How efficient is the human body?

This question sort of comes to mind when hearing how efficient an internal combustion engine is turning chemical energy in mechanical energy (something like 20-40%) with lots of excess heat. As an ...
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112 views

How does electrical energy develop by concentrating ions on one side of a biomembrane?

In biology there is a topic called oxidative phosphorylation. In the first step of this process substrates such as isocitrate is oxidised and the electrons are transferred to coenzymes NAD+ or FAD ...
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2answers
1k views

Frequency of touch, taste, and scent [closed]

So I was thinking about sound - and how anything below 20Hz is basically inaudible to humans (because it is too low of a frequency to be recognized), as well as anything above around 20KHz (because it ...
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3answers
8k views

How does blood/saliva boil in outer space?

Why would the blood boil? Is it because of the temperature or pressure? Because I really can't figure it out. I thought space didn't have a temperature above freezing unless close to a star or the sun....
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4answers
880 views

Why does the human body feel loud music?

I was sitting close to a speaker and I could feel the sound coming from it all over my body, especially in my heart, and it pounded with the loud beats of the music. Was my heart pounding because of ...
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4answers
365 views

How would swimming in low gravity work?

Sorry I know very little of actual physics, I'm not looking for hard and fast numbers just a general idea of how the mechanics would work. For the sake of argument, say you were on a planet or moon ...
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1answer
5k views

Newton's color Disk

How does Newton's color disk work? Newton's disk - Take a circular white color disk, make 7 equal intersections and paint section with respective VIBGYOR colors, now when you spin the disk in certain ...
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1answer
555 views

What is the minimum pressure difference for your ears to pop?

I'm assuming the answer to this largely varies from person to person. Assuming you could instantly change the pressure around your head by amount $\Delta p$, what is the minimum $\Delta p$ for your ...
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4answers
1k views

A quantitative explanation of EM coherence domains in liquid with DNA

I've been looking with interest at a recent biology paper claiming that DNA molecules give off electromagnetic signals which can cause the same types of molecules to be reconstructed at a remote ...
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2answers
640 views

Human perception of distance

When we see things around us, distant objects look smaller to our eyes than nearby objects do. Is there any physics-related reason why our eyes or brain perceive things like this? Or if this is ...
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2answers
14k views

Does staring at a bright LED light damage your eyes?

According to this article it seems that it is the UV part of the spectrum from the Sun that causes damage to the eye. Would it therefore be "safe" to observe directly an equivalent energy density LED ...
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2answers
612 views

Why don't massive water-borne animals crush under their own weight when they're in water?

If you take a giant whale out of the water and put it on land for long enough, it will crush itself under its own weight. Why doesn't the animal get crushed under its own weight when it's in water?
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2answers
168 views

What will happen to a human being exposed to Martian atmosphere?

Mark Watney, in the movie The Martian, says that, If the HAB breaches, I'm just gonna, kind of... implode. The corresponding novel, by Andy Weir, says he will explode (as pointed out by @...
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1answer
171 views

Radiation exposure to a child who was briefly in the presence of an adult who had received a 18FDG PET scan

I am a physician who thought she was good at math, but apparently am not as I cannot figure out this mathematical/physics question. (My background is obviously NOT nuclear medicine!) A family friend ...
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2answers
193 views

Fired a bullet upwards, can it fall down and kill me?

I know that if something is thrown up with a velocity v, it comes down with the same velocity as long as its motion faces no resistance. So is it possible for me to fire a bullet and be killed if it ...
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4answers
567 views

Would a neutrino bomb do anything? Or can weak force kill you?

In a disreputable animated cartoon (I accidentally watch every episode of religiously), a mad scientist plans on killing all humans with a Neutrino bomb. From context, this is a bomb that produces a ...
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2answers
2k views

Why human and most of vertebrates cannot see Near-Infrared light (720nm-1500nm)? [closed]

On daytime, the surface of Earth is illuminated abundantly by light of spectrum from 250nm-1500nm, that includes near-ultraviolet spectrum (250nm-380nm), visible spectrum (380nm-720nm) and near-...
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2answers
354 views

Difference in perception of unpolarized and polarized light

What is the difference in perception of polarized light and unpolarized light? What difference does polarized light cause to our eyes?
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1answer
786 views

What exactly happens to an exposed human body in space?

I know that space is a vacuum, has no air, and is very, very cold. From what I have seen in movies and TV shows when a space suit is exposed the oxygen will escape like a visible gas and the person ...
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2answers
80 views

Why is it harder to situp on solid floor?

When I situp on solid floor it is harder for me to lift my body upwards versus on a soft/foamy floor which I can do a lot.
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2answers
2k views

Is any work done when I walk?

I am trying to figure out the amount of work done when I walk X miles or for X minutes. So I got Work=Force x Distance and Force=Mass x Acceleration and Acceleration=(change in velocity)/time. I am ...
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1answer
729 views

How do sunflowers rotate?

Is there a physics mechanism to explain how sunflowers rotate to always face the sun? I tried to find more information or references using google search, but no luck.
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2answers
754 views

Examples of circuitry using proton currents

Proton cuircuits and proton motive force are part of standard discussion in biology and processes involving photosynthesis. The sort of proton currents discussed in biology are obviously slightly ...
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1answer
119 views

What, if anything, makes primary colours distinct?

I've recently become interested in the primary colours; red, green and blue. In my capacity as a computer programmer I'm well aware of how these colours are used practically, and of how varying ...
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3answers
379 views

How to calculate when wheels are better than legs?

We all know that it uses less energy to go by wheeled transport than walking if the terrain is smooth and there are not too many hills. We also all know that when going up steep hills we get off ...
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1answer
211 views

How accurately can we measure human electromagnetic fields?

How accurately can our current technological tools measure the human bio-electromagnetic field emitted by a person? Or, to put it differently, does each person have a different electromagnetic field ...
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1answer
303 views

Entropy of a polymer contained in a sphere with infinitely thin chords

Imagine that I have a polymer (approximated as a freely diffusing, freely jointed chain with some number of subunits 'N'), and I place this polymer into a sphere of some volume 'V'. Next, I proceed to ...
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3answers
4k views

Why do people with bigger hands/wrists have bigger torque advantages in arm wrestling?

I have arm wrestled people with less strength than me who win simply because they have thicker wrists, or larger hands. It has nary to do with having better technique either, because their wrist size ...
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1answer
366 views

Anisotropic refractive index with isotropic components?

In relation to my question here I wanted to make sure that my physical argument was not flawed. Anisotropic properties, (especially refractive index) is characteristic of a well-ordered solid (...
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1answer
411 views

Voltage drop over a cell membrane

Again, a problem from exam preparation: [A] cell's membrane allows sodium ions to pass through it, but not chlorine ions. The cell is placed in a salty solution with a ten times higher ...
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8answers
655 views

Is relativity necessary for the existence of life?

If the universe didn't have the relativity principle, would it be able to support life? Life consists of very complicated organisms. The operation of these organisms depends on the laws of physics. ...
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4answers
46k views

Earth's Magnetic Field, Human Brain and Sleep [closed]

I remember reading somewhere: when you sleep in a way subjecting your body to cut the geomagnetic field at right angles, you become highly emotional whereas when it is Parallel, it cools your ...
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4answers
7k views

Is it only red, green and blue that can make up any color through additive mixture?

I'm reading about color vision and have some trouble understanding the motivation for why the trichromatic theory was suggested in the first place. The book I'm reading ("Psychgology: The science of ...
3
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1answer
463 views

Can we use radiation pressure to push/levitate a human?

I want to know, at least in theory, are there any safe em wavelength that could affect human body as net force and do no harm? To put it bluntly I want to know is it possible for levitate a human on ...
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3answers
2k views

How do human ears distinguish the frequencies in sound?

If they do a Fourier transform, how can they know the formula to find coefficients?
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3answers
181 views

What would be the minimum size of a planet which would allow a human being to walk around without falling out in the open space?

On the Earth you can walk - of course we all know it - in the southern hemisphere without falling out in the open space, and you feel no difference between being at the North Pole or on the Equator. ...
3
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1answer
232 views

Can there be some non-electromagnetic radiation which would be perceived by human eye as light?

Can there be some non-electromagnetic radiation which would be perceived by human eye as light? I mean, say ultra-sound or some particle rays etc.
3
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3answers
300 views

Size of black hole so large that I could pass event horizon without dying from tidal forces?

Were I to fall towards a typical black hole, the tidal forces would rip me apart well before I got to the event horizon. However, if a black hole were big enough, I could enter the event horizon ...
3
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4answers
623 views

What was the motivation behind suggesting the trichromatic theory of vision?

Background In this thread, I asked whether it is true that the colors red, green and blue, through additive mixture, can make up any color. Turns out they can't. However, when reading about the ...
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1answer
116 views

Definition of Sievert (Sv) unit - is it whole body mass?

I'm wondering about the definition of the Sievert (Sv) unit. It is J/Kg but is that Kg the mass of the whole body or just of the exposed body part? For instance, when a table says that an x-ray of a ...
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2answers
155 views

How Safe Are Heat Ray Guns?

Could a little meddling with the frequencies of the Heat Ray Gun beam result in frying crowds rather than dispersing them?