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February 03, 2021 Wednesday 09:44:42 AM IST

Adapt Physics to Life Sciences

Teacher Insights

Professors at Michigan State University have adapted introductory physics to conform to the requirements of life sciences. This is because what is being taught in physics doesn’t reflect the reality of the biology that students in the life sciences are studying. Students learn the same material whether they wanted to be astronomers or physicians-the properties of gravity, the path a baseball takes absent air resistance, or how much energy is stored in a spinning flywheel. In the new syllabus developed by MSU, life sciences students need not grapple with gravity or frictionless baseballs but focus on understanding the complex motion of cells and biomolecules as they collide and schlep through viscous water. A 4-year pilot programme for 1000 life sciences undergraduates was conducted since 2016 using the new curriculum that has physics content tailored to their needs.