Subject: Physics for Biology

Scientific Area:



72 Hours

Number of ECTS:




Overall objectives:

1 - To grasp basic principles of various Physics study fields.
2 - To develop the ability to construct and explore physical models.
3 - To measure physical quantities.
4 - To establish a connection between Physics and Biology by using as examples physical phenomena that occur in living beings.
5 - To analize data by means of calculations and graphical representation.


1 - Dimensional analysis. Basic and derived quantities.
2 - Solid mechanics. Equilibrium conditions. Friction. Levers and joints. Elasticity and strength of materials. Behaviour of bones.
3 - Fluid mechanics. Statics of fluids. Fluid dynamics. Viscous fluids
4 - Thermodynamics. Ideal gas. Laws of thermodynamics. Heat transfer: radiation, conduction and convection. Matter states and transition between states. Kinetic theory. Random walks and diffusion.
5 - Atomic and nuclear physics. Atomic models. Nuclear desintegration. Biomedical applications. Biological effects of radiation.


J. D. de Deus, M. Pimenta, A. Noronha, T. Peña, P. Brogueira , 2000 , Introdução à Física , McGraw-Hill
P. Davidovits , 2008 , Physics in Biology and Medicine , Academic Press
E. Okuno, I. L. Caldas, C. Chow , 1982 , Física para ciências biológicas e biomédicas , Harbra
L. Salgueiro, J. G. Ferreira , 1991 , Introdução à Biofísica , Gulbenkian
R. Resnick, D. Halliday, K. S. Krane , 1996 , Física vols. 1, 2, 3 e 4 , LTC
M. Alonso, E. J. Finn , 2001 , Física ­ um curso universitário vols. 1 e 2. , Edgard Blücher

Assesssment methods and criteria:

Classification Type: Quantitativa (0-20)

Evaluation Methodology:
The methodology employed in theoretical classes is expositive. The contents are laid out on the board, equations and formulae derived from first principles and great emphasis is put into the connection between physical formulae and the real world. Theoretical­practical classes consist in problem solving. Some key problems are worked out on the board, but the bulk of problems is solved independently by the students, who can count with individual assistance from the lecturer whenever needed. The theoretical and theoreticalpractical classes are concerned with biological and/or biomedical applications. Practical classes consist in experiments and treatment of experimentally obtained data. Evaluation Model: B. Evaluation Methodology: T and TP components: 3 written tests. All three without aid materials and calculators. In the examination period 1, 2 or 3 out of the 3 tests can be improved. Lab component: 2 lab tests. In the examination period 1 of the tests can be improved.