Ausbildungsseminar "Physik der lebendigen Welt"

Sommersemester 2022


This course is given jointly by Dr. Magdalena Marganska (Magda) and Dr. Joerg Mertins (Joerg). Please do not hesitate to get in touch whenever you want to. 

Physics of Life

In the fight for survival both the animal and plant world have found wonderfully clever solutions to many physical problems. Their length scales run from nanometers to dozens of meters, and involve all disciplines of physics - from classical mechanics, through electrodynamics, quantum physics and thermodynamics, both for individual organisms and for collectives. The challenges which the living world had to solve are locomotion, lightweight construction, efficient swimming, photosynthesis, path optimization, the balance between sensitivity, speed, and error correction in neural conduction... Many of these solutions inspire also technological innovations.

This seminar gives you an opportunity to learn about a broad and varied domain of physics, which rarely makes it into the official curriculum. We also want to give you tools and strategies for preparing and giving good talks. To this end we advise you closely during the preparation phase, and offer detailed feedback after the talk.


How the course works:

- During the next week you choose a topic that you want to present to your colleagues. You can find one in the slides from the introduction on 27th of April, or among the previous topics from 2015 and 2019, or choose one completely by yourself.

- On the 4th of May we will fix the list of topics, solving possible overlap conflicts. In the next couple of weeks the two of us (Magda and Joerg) will be the ones giving talks.

- Starting with the 18th or 25th of May, we will begin the series of talks given by the participants of the course. One week before your turn comes, the two of us (M&J) and the speaker will arrange a meeting, sit together and thoroughly discuss the talk, offering praise and advice as needed. That will give the speaker some time to improve the talk before it is actually given.

Regarding the contents - the talks should always contain at least a fundamental explanation of the principles of physics which are at play in the topic you present, and some equations encoding that principle. 

Slides of Magdas presentation on April 27 

Magda gave an introduction to this seminar at our first meeting on April 27. 
You can find the slides linked here and read them again! 

In May… 
...Magda and I will give general considerations for good talks and we will view and discuss various examples together while the participants can prepare their own talks. We are also happy to give feedback on the first version of your own talk too so you may be able to include suggested changes.   

Schedule of talks 

06-01  Felix 
Physical challenges of living in the Alps

06-08  Merlin
Development of human vision

06-15  Jakob
Gecko feet and adhesion to surfaces

06-22  Harriet
Tree root and fungal networks

06-29  Mirjam
Structure of bone and shells

07-06  Alicia
Narwhals: underwater communication and hunting with echolocation

07-13 Jiahao

On July 20th or 27th we may take an excursion starting at about 12:30.  
Please tell us if these dates collide with any exams of your other classes.  


This page will be continued….

We hope to spend an exciting, wonderful seminar with you! 

Magda and Joerg. 


Letzte Änderung: 5.04.2024   von Webmaster