Navigation Tips

The NEXUS/Physics wiki is an information resource for life science students studying physics. It's halfway between a standard textbook and a standard web information resource like Wikipedia.

  • How is it textbook-like?
    • There are chapters, sections, and subsections.
    • There are worked examples, activities, and problems.
    • There's a Table of Contents.
    • You can start at the beginning and read it straight through.
  • How is it wiki-like?
    • It's made up of hundreds of short web pages.
    • Each page has links to relevant other information and resources.
    • Pages can be easily modified and improved, and new pages are continually being added.
    • You can start at any page and go back and forth to see how its information fits with other knowledge.

Navigating the NEXUS/Physics Wiki

To help you from getting "lost in cyberspace," we've provided a number of different ways of navigating, both globally (to get an overview) and locally (to get immediate help).

The material is divided into chapters. Each chapter has a starting web page. Then every web page can have "child" web pages - subsections to that web page. So the structure of each chapter is like a phylogenetic tree with multiple levels of branching.

You can find a list of chapters (on the Home Page) and the full Table of Contents at the Navigation tabs at the top of every page.

There are six kinds of pages in the wiki:

  • Interlude - Overview and motivation for a group of connected chapters
  • Landing Page - The table of contents for a chapter with links to each reading in the chapter
  • Overview Page - An overview and motivation for a single chapter
  • Reading Page - The basic text and content
  • Workout - Brief explorations of the topic of a page, typically using a simulation
  • Example - Worked problems showing how the information in a page is used

The figure at the right gives an example of a few pages and how they are related.

Pages are shown from two chapters with their parent/child (section/subsection) connections.

  • The interlude (green circle) discusses the content of two chapters.
  • Each chapter has a landing-page table of contents (yellow circle).
  • Each chapter has a set of readings (blue circles) that includes an overview, sections following from it, and sub-sections following from the sections.
  • Some of the readings have examples (purple diamonds) or workout (pink hexagons) following from them.

Here are some ways of figuring out how the web page you are reading fits in.
In each diagram, the web page you are reading is in dark blue.
Other related pages are colored lightly.


The breadcrumbs trace the path of parent pages back up to the chapter's table of contents and then on to the overall table of contents.


While the relation to the tree structure is important, often, a webpage will depend on your having read and understood other webpages in the text. These are listed as "Prerequisites" at the top of the page. These are very useful if you have come to a page by a search and not by reading the parent pages.


The follow-ons give pages that are natural "next readings" that provide examples or discuss the implications of the page you are on.


Further readings

To the right side of each pages are listed all the pages that are child pages to the page you are reading. This shows you what the next level of branches (subsections) are that you can follow down the tree.

The structure of a page:

Top of the page

On the top of a page you'll find

  • Navigation tabs
  • Search box
    (searches within the NEXUS/Physics wiki)
  • Breadcrumbs
    (chain of parent pages)
  • Page-type icon
    (reading, example, or workout)
  • Prerequisite pages
  • Further reading (child pages)


Middle of the page

In the text of the page you may find

  • External links to simulations, Wikipedia, videos, and tools elsewhere on the web
    (leaves the NEXUS/Physics wiki and opens a new tab:
    indicated by  )
  • Internal links (indicated by blue underlined text)
  • Motif icons (indicating a common theme — tools for building knowledge or using math 
    (Click on the icon for more information.)




Bottom of the page

At the bottom of the page you will find

  • An icon indicating if there's a Workout associated with the page with a link to it
  • Authors of the page
  • Follow-on readings
  • Sometimes, links to resource readings


You can reach this page from anywhere in the wiki by clicking on "Navigation Tips" in the navigation tab at the top of every page.

Joe Redish 3/4/19