Deadline to send suggestions for ´The Physics of Life´

Message from Sarah Harris (deadline 2 July 2012).

The Institute of Physics would like to produce a booklet highlighting the importance of biological physics research. We need your urgent help in identifying pieces (or specific fields) of UK research to highlight.

The aim is to alert policy-makers and funders (and others who influence the advancement of physics) to developments in interdisciplinary research that are likely to lead to important scientific discoveries, commercial applications and beneficial impact on society within the next 10 to 15 years. The urgency is due to the research councils alerting the IOP to the possibility of a Spending Review taking place as early as October 2013, and requesting case studies and evidence that will help make a strong case for science to BIS and the Treasury. EPSRC, in particular, is keen on showcasing how the science it funds helps to underpin the life and medical sciences. Thus, this presents an ideal opportunity for the biological physics community to raise the profile of the exciting multidisciplinary research they are engaged in, and to also help influence a potential Spending Review.

The booklet will cover about six topics or pieces of research. There will also be an introduction putting the research in context, explaining the overall development and importance of the field and the benefits to society in terms of new insights into the biosciences and new technology. The science will be written at a level that can be understood by an intelligent layperson and comment on potential applications. The appearance of the booklet will be visually exciting and modern.

Possible topics are (please do feel free to suggest alternatives):

  • New experimental techniques for studying biological systems, e.g. new optics, AFM etc
  • The physics of molecular motors
  • Physics of drug delivery
  • Computational biophysics
  • Systems biology
  • Biomembranes

Applications would be, for example, in (again, alternative suggestions are very welcome):

  • Drug delivery physics
  • In silico drug design
  • Bio-mimetic technologies, such as synthetic molecular machines
  • Medical imaging and diagnosis
  • Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine

We should be grateful if you could make suggestions of areas, recommend a particular piece of research work to cover and the relevant research group/s to contact (or pass this email onto the relevant group leaders in your department). As the articles will not be very long - 500 words - it would be best if each topic were reasonably tightly defined and would refer to not more than one or two research groups. Unfortunately we may not be able to exhaustively cover all of the exciting biophysics ongoing in the UK, but we promise that any suggestions made by our community will be collated and carefully kept for possible use in future publicity materials.

We would like to hear from you soon – if possible before Monday 2 July. Please do feel free to contact us beforehand if you have any questions or ideas you think will be helpful to us.

Best Regards,

Sarah Harris


Hon. Secretary, IOP Biological Physics Group