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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Harmlessness of a pure alpha decay particle

From my high school physics class I remember that there are some particles which exhibit pure alpha decay (i.e. alpha decay to there stable isotope), like Po-210, Po-211 and Bi-209. What I also know ...
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2answers
1k views

Why can you see a light in the location that the light source just left?

This is my first question on this site so forgive me for the awkward wording of the question. Basically, my question is why does light from, say, a sparkler, seem to remain where it just came from to ...
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4answers
585 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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2answers
115 views

Quantum uncertainty in cell functions

In class today (philosophy of the mind) we discussed the ideas of Richard Lewontin. He stated that in determining the phenotype of a gene we must take into account the environment but also quantum ...
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2answers
246 views

Is metabolic rate the amount of heat given off?

The Basal Metabolic Rate is intuitively expressed as "the amount of energy you consume just sitting around." In some places it seems to be equated with the amount of heat that you give off. Is this ...
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2answers
109 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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1answer
50 views

Soft Condensed Matter book for self study

I'm a junior undergraduate in physics & materials science. I've had half of a course in quantum mechanics taught out of Townsend's book (We've gone from beginnings of matrix mechanics to the ...
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3answers
695 views

Electric impluses inside nerve cells

I'm not a biologist, nor physicist, but there is one thing I try to understand about the elecricity inside human body. I wasn't sure whether place this question here, or perhaps on biology portal, but ...
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1answer
186 views

physically modelling the Saltatory nerve impulse transmission?

The nerve impulse transmission is specifically a biophysical process. Under a resting stage, the membrane is already polarised (presence of charge on either side leading to a potential difference ...
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242 views

Can wireless power transfer harm organic life by anyway?

Now, humanity can beam 50-60 watts power through 10 centimeter-thick concrete block. Can such wireless power transfer harm us by anyways?
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1answer
72 views

Why do we see just one octave of light? [closed]

When one takes a look at the usual chart of EM spectrum one cannot help but notice that visible spectrum is slightly below one octave of frequencies; that is, the ratio between the highest and least ...
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1answer
239 views

Would a six-inch person face certain death when falling from a great height?

In Mary Norton's The Borrowers Aloft, the borrowers are like humans in every way except size - normal adult height is six inches. One family of three is captured by a human couple and housed in an ...
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259 views

What would be walking speed in low gravity?

In $1g$ the average adult human walks 4-5 km in an hour. How fast would such a human walk in a low gravity environment such as on the Moon $(0.17g)$ or Titan $(0.14g)$? Let's ignore the effects of ...
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1answer
179 views

Walking & Swinging

How can I show that the most convenient way to move the arms while walking is swinging them back and forth, alternatively? To pose the question in another way: can I prove, starting from the ...
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2answers
120 views

“In-head” sound intensity with and without earplugs

When you bite something in two pieces, e.g. a piece of hard candy, you hear the sound through two sources: vibrations in the air, entering your ears from the outside and internal vibrations in your ...
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1answer
104 views

Why electric field has a major role in vision?

Although the electromagnetic wave is made op of both electric and magnetic fields the electric field contributes much in vision and is thus, called the light vector. But, why is it that the electric ...
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1answer
90 views

How does the strength of gravity affect human walking speed? [closed]

Walking requires friction and gravity, would humans be able to walk faster in different strength gravitational field than that of earth's? What strength of gravity would allow an average human to ...
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1answer
92 views

What is the physical clock ticking inside a living cell? [closed]

What is the physical process which determines the timescale of the aging of a living cell? It might be that on the macroscopic scale, i.e., aging of the human, the gravitational force is one factor ...
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1answer
181 views

Biophysics and mathematical biology landmark papers [closed]

I am PhD student in biophysics, and I am looking for interesting theoretical papers for my personal training and for journal club presentations. Going on journal websites and browse the thousands of ...
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1answer
190 views

Meaning of Lagrange Multiplier in Ou-Yang and Helfrich's Shape equation for Membrane

Dear people in Physics Stackexchange, My question is mostly related to the following papers: U. Seifert, Z. Phys. B 97, 299 (1995). "The concept of effective tension for fluctuating vesicles". U. ...
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2answers
260 views

Computing microstate probabilities based on Boltzmann distribution for chemical systems - Is it rigorous?

One approach to predicting the folded structure of a polymer (DNA, RNA, protein) is to compute the probability that any particular part of the polymer $x_i$ is "paired" with another part of the ...
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1answer
227 views

Examples of piecewise smooth dynamical systems [closed]

I have recently been studying continuous dynamical systems whose phase space can be divided into a number of regions. Inside each of these the flow is smooth, but there is a discrete jump in the flow ...
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0answers
69 views

What is the maximum magnetic field that a human body can withstand? [closed]

Are there limits to the exposure of human bodies to magnetic fields? What happens if we cross that limit? How to create such magnetic fields? Has this been tried out?
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0answers
87 views

Can you be your own space suit? [closed]

A few days ago a question was asked on Reddit whether or not a human could survive in space with "just enough" of a spacesuit to plug all the important holes, e.g. a face mask to plug the eyes, ears, ...
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0answers
61 views

Understanding quantum coherence in biological processes (Magnetoreception)

Moved my questions to the top. Context below. Why is the strength of the electric field and the coupling constant being compared to the inverse coherence time? What is the inverse coherence time? Is ...
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0answers
108 views

What biology knowledge can be applied in physics? [closed]

After asking a commensurate question in Biology.SE (What physics knowledge can be applied to biology of organisms and ecosystems?), I wonder about the reverse direction: What biology knowledge can be ...
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0answers
87 views

How does the Darma - Smart Cushion work? Explanation of the new fiber loop ring-down spectroscopy

How does the Darma - Smart cushion monitor your sitting position and obtain the breathing rate, body movements, and BCG (Ballistocardiography) signals? The creators say that they accomplish this by ...
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0answers
60 views

What happens to proteins under x ray/gamma ray radiation?

A simple question to which I am yet to find an answer. I have not found any papers which would go into detail about it, there is some stuff on protein damage in x-ray crystallography but they are ...
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0answers
196 views

Is WiFi safe for humans? [closed]

I have WiFi on at my home almost all the time. I learned that the frequency of visible light is around several hundreds of THz, while the frequency of wifi is only several GHz, which is only ...
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0answers
75 views

Medical/Physics Question - Cut Off Finger Preservation

This question might require some knowledge of medical/tissue, but physicists seem to know everything, so figured I've give it a shot here ;) When people put cut off fingers they are told to put the ...
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0answers
180 views

How much energy (eV) is in a mosquito's wing beat?

We're all familiar with the annoying sound of a mosquito near our ear. I estimate the wing beat frequency to be in the 400 to 800Hz range (to accomodate the Bruce Willis and Danny de Vito of mosquitos ...
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1answer
64 views

Electromagnetic fields and human behaviour

To what extent does electromagnetic fields and/or radiation from space have influence on human behaviour and/or physiology?
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1answer
346 views

Would there be EMF induced in our body due to electromagnetic radiations?

The experiments of innovative Faraday and Joseph Henry in USA, conducted around 1830, demonstrated conclusively that electric currents were induced in closed coils when subjected to changing magnetic ...
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2answers
4k views

How neutrinos can be harmful?

What are the circumstances in which neutrinos can harm humans or even kill them.?
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121 views

What's Optimal About Six Legs According to Physical Laws? [closed]

In many respects the insects can be regarded as the most successful class of animals in evolutionary terms. And one of the most common features of insects is that they (mostly) all have six legs. Not ...
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2answers
721 views

What happens to body chemistry at the speed of light? [duplicate]

Assume that I'm traveling at the speed of light in one direction. My brain is also traveling at the speed of light in that direction. Presumably there is at least one receptor site in my brain that is ...
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1answer
162 views

Polonium tea emergency [closed]

Let's assume that I just realised that tea I drunk 30 minutes ago during meeting with a secret agent was doped with radioactive polonium. What should I do? What the doctors will do? Are there ...
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4answers
2k views

What is our estimated running speed on Moon's surface?

I was wondering if we have the chance to run on the Moon's surface, how would you expect it look like? I expect our velocity will increase for the same work we do on Earth, but not sure if this will ...
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3answers
560 views

Was the early Earth radioactive?

I've been reading of the (surprising) fact we are uncertain on whether there is nuclear fission in the center of the Earth or not (yet we know so much detail on structures at the other end of the ...
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2answers
119 views

Singing for physicists: How to resonate by body cavities with my voice?

My body has various cavities, such as my throat, mouth, chest, and nose. This cavities have resonant frequencies. I also have a voice box, which creates sound. How do I create sounds at the resonant ...
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2answers
53 views

Does human body have a centre of mass?

According to this site, The center of mass of the human body depends on the gender and the position of the limbs. In a standing posture, it is typically about 10 cm lower than the navel, near the ...
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3answers
243 views

How much further can I throw a baseball (148 grams) than a grenade (453 grams)?

Question: Over a flat plane, how much further can I throw a Major League baseball than I can an M67 grenade? Major League baseball: 148 grams M67 frag grenade: 453 grams For a baseline of how ...
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2answers
409 views

Human Muscle Energy - Increases or Decreases by doing work?

When Human does some work, he gets tired. I will think he looses some energy. If he really loses energy by doing work how does he gain more strength to do more work later. His muscles become strong ...
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2answers
88 views

How do we represent 'smell' and 'taste' as signals?

I was wondering if we could represent 'smell' and 'taste' as signals like we do for audio. How do we mathematically represent them? Is there any research papers related to it? Can someone give me ...
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3answers
2k views

How do birds generate thrust?

I have been watching this video carefully and I want to know how the wings of birds generate thrust. This is because the wings are more or less flapping up and down --- generating the lift. But I do ...
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1answer
53 views

Why do we hear the square of the wave?

Assume we superpose two waves of frequencies $\omega_1, \omega_2$. Then what we get are beats. Adding the two sines gives us $$\psi = A\sin(\omega_1 t) + A\sin(\omega_2 t) = 2 \sin ...
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2answers
82 views

Safety of Polonium Isotope source

I saw a YouTube video by a guy demonstrating Geiger Counter use and one of his radioactive test sources was a disk with Polonium. He casually mentioned that this was the poison used to kill that ...
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1answer
48 views

Is (or why isn't) static charge as lethal as ionizing radiation?

Ionizing radiation, e.g. the "stuff" emitted by radioactive materials, is dangerous to humans since changes to the electron configurations (in the human body) causes the various molecules (in the ...
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2answers
530 views

Measuring energy when no work is done — comparing push-ups to planks

tl;dr Is there any meaningful (physical) way to compare the energy expended in the exercise of doing $x$ pushups in $t_1$ seconds, vs the exercise of doing the plank for $t_2$ seconds? I'm ...
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2answers
371 views

Running: Determine how much more energy is needed per extra kilogram of weight

(I recently asked this on maths but was directed here) I have recently become a runner and having a keen interest in kinematics I'm very interested in the maths/physics of my running. Can someone ...