Physics teaches us how to construct and apply models of phenomena in the world around us, spanning scales from the very smallest to the very largest. Biology has long been a rich source of open questions, but we cannot understand life without understanding the physics and mathematics that govern living things. For that reason, many renowned physicists, such as Richard Feynman, Wolfgang Pauli, Niels Bohr, Max Delbrück and Erwin Schrödinger, turned their attention to biological problems and in some cases made substantial contributions to new fields such as molecular biology.
Biology has increasingly become a quantitative science, where scientists from different backgrounds together address a range of unresolved problems, for example, how biomolecules adopt their specific shape, how they interact in cells and how cells divide and communicate. The methods of theoretical physics, including statistical methods, machine learning, modelling and simulation, form an invaluable toolbox for approaching many of these problems.
The Department of Astronomy and Theoretical Physics offers a physics programme with a specialisation in biological physics and computational biology, which combines a solid base of courses in theoretical and mathematical physics with courses in other subjects taught at the relevant departments, for example, chemistry and biology.
As a Master’s student, you will become part of a vibrant research community at the Computational Biology and Biological Physics division, engaged in cutting-edge theoretical studies of biological problems in collaboration with experimental groups worldwide. The programme includes a Master’s project carried out within one of the research groups.
The programme offers a wide range of courses. Some suggested courses are Computational Physics, Theoretical Biophysics, Artificial Neural Networks and Deep Learning, Systems Biology, Statistical Mechanics and Experimental Biophysics.
At the end of the programme, you complete an individual Master’s degree project corresponding to at least 30credits.
A specialisation in biological physics will give you opportunities to pursue a wide variety of careers. Whereas some students go on to do a PhD in theoretical physics or computational biology, it is also possible to find suitable careers outside academia, for example in the fields of information and communication technology or biotechnology, where advanced programming and modelling are sought after.
In addition, MAX IV and the upcoming ESS laboratory in Lund will create new opportunities for graduates with a degree in physics, including biological physics and computational biology.