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 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. ...
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2answers
81 views

Why do some people support more electricity than others?

There is a game where people hold by their hands and two of them touch the electrodes of a shock box, then an electric current flows through them. I understand that since they are all making a single ...
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59 views

Physiological Significance of Superposition

To what extent is the concept of superposition appropriate to physiology? In other words, can organisms "actually" exist in a state of superposition?
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1answer
2k views

How much magnetic field will be required to levitate a human? [duplicate]

According to this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqKeiiezqzc it should be possible to levitate humans because the water in our bodies is diamagnetic - but it is stated (at 1:14) "although ...
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1answer
197 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
832 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
183 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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1answer
43 views

How much ionizing (carcinogenic) radiation is one exposed to on a commercial flight, what are the sources, and how could exposure be minimized? [closed]

I don't know if this is the best place to ask this question, but I figure a physics-based answer would be the most satisfying. I'd be happy to be convinced I'm being paranoid about protecting an ...
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1answer
111 views

How do snails avoid being cut while crawling over a razor blade? [closed]

This YouTube video shows a snail crawling over the edge of a razor blade without being harmed. The author claims that: To us, slug and snail slime is gooey and gross but the mucus is one of ...
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0answers
100 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
175 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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2answers
376 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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4answers
222 views

Does Free Will Theorem imply that quantum mechanics plays crucial role in our brain’s functioning (consciousness)?

Does Free Will Theorem imply that quantum mechanics plays crucial role in our brain’s functioning (consciousness)? Is opposite statement of Free Will Theorem right: If elementary particles have a ...
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2answers
263 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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2answers
295 views

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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2answers
121 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
262 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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1answer
41 views

Why does our eyes see red when exposed to too much light? [closed]

When I looked into my projector when it was on the blue screen it left a red spot in my vision. I should not have tried it but all the colors left a red spot. Why not a blue or yellow spot was left?
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1answer
78 views

Confusion over plant's “magnetic field” being used to reduce wastage of pesticide

As far as I am aware, a plant does not have a magnetic field of any significant magnitude. What I wonder is, is there any electromagnetic related basis for the crop spraying technique outlined in ...
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1answer
92 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 \left(\frac{\...
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1answer
92 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
979 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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2answers
661 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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1answer
205 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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2answers
243 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
339 views

Singing: Resonance body open-closed or closed-closed?

Googling yields contradictory results, so here my question: When I sing, my vocal chords vibrate, but my whole body is the resonance body, right? So I would say that when I think about standing waves ...
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2answers
73 views

Why was it difficult to walk in the same direction the train's acceleration, and easier the other way around?

The other day while I was walking in the same direction that the train was accelerating. Then I came across this question. Please if would answer it, I am very curious to know. But when I walked the ...
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1answer
118 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
256 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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2answers
317 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
200 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
135 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
117 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
217 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
52 views

Generallized Canonical Ensemble - Isobaric Ensemble

I am trying to understand the way generalized canonical ensembles like the pressure ensemble are derived from the standard canonical ensemble. In the derivation for the standard form, one defines a ...
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1answer
142 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 ...
2
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1answer
97 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
207 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
201 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
273 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 ...
2
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1answer
231 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
40 views

Stability of plants and buildings: the role of the xylem

Dicotyledon plants show a stem structure with many xylem tubes, hollow but with lignified (woody) walls. These are arranged as in the figure below, in a circle. Their roots, on the other hand, have ...
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0answers
107 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
93 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
66 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
126 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
94 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 ...