IPLS Poster Abstract Detail Page

Previous Page  |  New Search  |  Browse All

Poster Title: Biophysics in the Undergraduate Curriculum
Abstract: Recently there have been multiple calls for curricular reforms to develop new pathways to the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. In response, I propose a conceptual framework for quantitative scientific modeling skills that are useful across all the STEM disciplines. The approach actively engages students in a process of directed scientific discovery using Monte Carlo simulations and finite difference methods using the "Marble Game" as a model system. In a "Student Assessment of their Learning Gains" (SALG) survey, students identified this approach as producing "great gains" in their understanding of real world problems and scientific research. Students build a conceptual framework that applies directly to random molecular-level processes in biology such as diffusion and interfacial transport. It is also isomorphic with a reversible first-order chemical reaction providing conceptual preparation for chemical kinetics. The computational and mathematical framework can also be applied to investigate the predictions of quantitative physics models ranging from Newtonian mechanics through RLC circuits. To test this approach, students were asked to derive a novel theory of osmosis. The test results confirm that they were able to successfully apply the conceptual framework to a new situation under final exam conditions. The marble game thus provides a pathway to the STEM disciplines that includes quantitative biology concepts in the undergraduate curriculum - from the very first class. DUE-0836833 http://circle4.com/biophysics
Poster Category: Course Structure
Course Content
Biology/Life Science Applications
Innovations in computation, mathematics, and modeling
Upper-division courses
Poster File: Download the Poster File
Poster Keywords: simulation, quantitative scientific modeling, Monte Carlo, diffusion, osmosis, chemical kinetics, mechanics

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Pete Nelson
Benedictine University
Phone: (630) 357 4640