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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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
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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4answers
288 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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4answers
955 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
616 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
530 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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105 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
168 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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4answers
14k views

How much energy in form of heat does a human body emit?

How much energy in form of heat does a human body emit at rest level?
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2answers
305 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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2answers
21k 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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158 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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689 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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3answers
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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 ...
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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
651 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
659 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
86 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
334 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
423 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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3answers
3k 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
327 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
378 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
652 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
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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 ...
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2answers
8k 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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3answers
1k 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
149 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. ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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3answers
263 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 ...
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1answer
79 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
151 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?
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2answers
503 views

When jumping into water, how deep should the water be to survive?

How deep can I go if jumping from 50m?
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2answers
484 views

How much work will a human do to lift a weight?

I saw a pretty simple homework question here that asked how much work it takes to lift a 200 kg weight, and while the math for a basic answer is simple the weightlifter in me instead wanted to ...
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1answer
667 views

Is it dangerous if one elementary particle with high energy penetrates our brain?

We might be killed if a bullet penetrates our brain. How about an elementary particle moving with high energy penetrates our brain? Assume that we can have exactly a single elementary particle for ...
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2answers
319 views

How do animal perceive distances with their eyes and ears

I am studying how animals (including the human beings) can perceive distances thanks to their eyes and their ears. I am focusing on the fact that they always go in pairs: two eyes, two ears, etc. ...
3
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1answer
301 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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1answer
164 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
4k views

How to calculate calorie expidenture from lifting a weight?

Am I correct to say that when a human lifts a dumbbell from, say, 2 feet off the ground to 6 feet off the ground, he will have increased the potential energy of the weight and thus will have burned ...
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1answer
671 views

How muscle force work? [closed]

If muscle works with force on joint and joint works with exact force on muscle(newton III law) how can muscle drag much heavier weight than itself?
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1answer
182 views

Why do beverages taste different based on how cold they are? [closed]

Why does temperature effect the taste of beverages? Specifically, how does the temperature for example mask certain tastes ie filtered vs unfiltered water taste very similar at colder temp and Is ...
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1answer
2k views

How does a stronger magnet affect the MRI image quality?

In which ways is a stronger magnet better for magnetic resonance imaging? I read that: The field strength of the magnet will influence the quality of the MR image regarding chemical shift ...
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0answers
75 views

Quantum computing with biological matter? [closed]

As a biologist with physics background I wonder whether there is a way to use biological matter to create quantum computers or at least to advance the field somewhat. Usually, my first feeling would ...
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0answers
298 views

Nobel prize for (dangerous) LED lamps? [closed]

There are many scientific articles about the danger of LED lamps (see below from the LED magazine, from scientific american, from a governmental journal and from Harvard health newsletter): Light ...
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0answers
144 views

Fluctuation spectrum of lipid bilayer membranes

I am interestend in calculating the fluctuation spectrum of a thermally fluctuating 2d membane which is only subject to a surface tension $\sigma$. ($\mathcal{H}=\sigma\int\mathrm{d}A$) Depending in ...
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4answers
40k 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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2answers
372 views

What are the main issues that are preventing a human mission to Mars? [closed]

Is it just because it'd be very expensive? Or are there serious problems that need to be dealt with, studied and solved? If so, what are they?
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2answers
227 views

Order of magnitude estimation for some intriguing questions

The physics TA showed us a few examples in which one can estimate many things from first principles, sound logic, and scaling arguments. This led usually to understanding of why some numbers have the ...
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1answer
173 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.