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PHY127 FS2024, Physics for Life Sciences 2


Lecturer : Prof. Ben Kilminster
Lectures ( PHY127.1 ):

Friday, 08:00 - 09:45

Exercise sessions ( PHY127.2 ): Tuesday or Wednesday, 13:00 - 15:45    (First : 27th Feb 2024)
Office Hours Fridays 11:45-13:00 at 36J50  or by email appointment


Course information sheet

References & texts

References for each lecture will be added below. 

A document with german/english translations of common physics quantities, as well as a reminder of the units of such quantities is available here PHY127-FS2024-helper.pdf (PDF, 95 KB) 

The following can serve as a reference for the basic physics (from PHY 117) 


  • Paul A. Tipler, Gene Mosca: Physics for scientists and engineers.  
  • Halliday & Resnick : Fundamentals of Physics. 

Additional resources to help with mathematics. 

  • MHP: Mathematische Hilfsmittel (PDF, 587 KB) (in german) derivatives, integrals, series expansions, statistics, vector algebra, coordinate transformations, tensors, ... )
  • C.B. Lang und N. Pucker: Mathematische Methoden der Physik, Spektrum Verlag, Heidelberg und Berlin.

Formelsammlung Mittelschulphysik (PDF, 396 KB) is also useful for usage of basic formulas.

The formula sheet for completing exercises and for the final exam:


Exercises are posted on OLAT  every 2 weeks on Friday after lecture.

Exercise sessions in the following week will help you understand the terms and concepts of the exercises. Exercise sessions in the second week after the exercises are assigned will explain the solutions.  It is expected that you will complete the exercises before this second exercise session. 

There will be no podcasts of exercise classes. 

Exam schedule

Exam guidelines  :
Exams will be similar in style to the exercises. A formula sheet with all needed equations will be provided to you for use throughout the semester, and in the exams.  We will provide you with paper and a calculator (PDF, 1 MB)

The final exam will be printed in english and in german.   The following are forbidden in exams : 

  • Any means of communication (mobile phones, smart watches, etc.)
  • Any kind of calculator, laptop, or electronic storage device
  • Any additional formula sheets or written notes. 

Exam date: 28.06.2024, 10:00 - 12:00

Repeat exam date: 13.09.2024, 14:00 - 16:00


Your grade is based on the following assessments : 

  • 100%  final examination

Attendance is expected and recorded for exercise sessions.  The final examination will be composed of questions similar to those presented in the lectures and the weekly exercises. 

Outline of course

The course will cover modern physics topics such as relativity, quantum physics, atomic, nuclear, and particle physics, radiation, particle-wave duality, particles interacting in matter, particle detection.  These ideas will be used to explain the basics of modern radiation techniques for diagnostics and treatment, and such instruments as X-rays, CT scanners, PET scanners, NMR, MRI, etc. 

In order to gain some  insight into the prerequisites students bring with them to this lecture, I ask you to complete this  survey in OLAT during or shortly after the first lecture.

Lecture information


Lecture schedule (12 lectures) Topics          PDF of chalkboard Additional resources

Week 1  (Feb. 23rd, 2024)

Intro, units, reminder of forces, and force balancing. (PDF, 16 MB)

See additional resources linked above. 

Week 2 (Mar. 1st, 2024)

Electromagnetic radiation. PHY127-FS2024-L2.pdf (PDF, 13 MB) See PHY121 script, chapters 13,18,&19 for more on waves, the power of heat of EM radiation.
Week 3 (Mar. 8th, 2024) But are photons particles or waves ? PHY127-FS2023-L3 (PDF, 12 MB)

See Thornton & Rex, "Modern Physics", chapter 3,  available online. 

Week 4 (Mar. 15th, 2024)

Waves, standing waves, probabilities

PHY127-FS2024-L4.pdf (PDF, 7 MB)

See Script 1 chapter 12 on harmonic oscillators, and script 2 chapter 12 on waves.

Week 5 (Mar. 22nd, 2024)

Wave-particle duality, wave packets, uncertainty principle, Schroedinger wave equation PHY127-FS2024-L5.pdf (PDF, 10 MB)

See script sectipon 12.1.2 & 12.1.3 for small-angle approximation, more on waves in chapter 13. 

Wave-diffraction (GIF, 592 KB)Wave-diffraction-big-aperture (GIF, 276 KB)wave-packet (GIF, 3 MB) , group-and-phase-velocity (GIF, 1 MB)

Holiday, Mar. 29th, 2024      
Holiday, Apr. 5th, 2024      
Week 6 (Apr. 12th, 2024)

The quantum nature of electrons in an  atom, and emitted light. Standing waves.  Particle in a 3D box. 

PHY127-FS2024-L6.pdf (PDF, 10 MB)

Videos shown on standing waves on a 2D drum: 

StandingWave-drum-1 (GIF, 191 KB)

StandingWave-drum-2 (GIF, 190 KB)

StandingWave-drum-3 (GIF, 115 KB)

StandingWave-drum-4 (GIF, 214 KB)

StandingWave-drum-5 (GIF, 138 KB)

StandingWave-drum-6 (GIF, 245 KB)


Week 7 (Apr. 19th, 2024)

Hydrogen atom in 3D, with 3 quantum numbers.  Angular momentum. Standing waves.

PHY127-FS2024-L7-final.pdf (PDF, 3 MB)

For more information, see script 1 on angular momentum, and script 2 on magnetic moment. 

Week 8 (Apr. 26th, 2024)


Many-electron atoms, charge screening, X-rays, Bremsstrahlung, Characteristic X-rays, Thomson scattering, Compton effect, Bragg's law (PDF, 16 MB)


Week 9 (May 3rd, 2024)


X-ray penetration, attenuation, radiation dose, exposure dose, biological effects of radiation, CT scans with X-rays, pair production, pair annihilation, PET scans PHY127-FS2024-L9.pdf (PDF, 28 MB)  

Week 10 (May 10th, 2024)

microCT, nanoCT, phase-contrast imaging, Fresnel plate focusing, synchrotron accelerators, X-ray synchrotron imaging, X-ray free electron laser imaging

PHY127-FS2024-L10.pdf (PDF, 53 MB)




Videos in PPTs below

PHY127-FS2024-L10-vids copy.pptx (PPTX, 31 MB)

PHY127-FS2024-L10-vids copy 2.pptx (PPTX, 63 MB)

PHY127-FS2024-L10-vids copy 3.pptx (PPTX, 23 MB)

Week 11 (May 17th, 2024) Angular momentum, precession of spinning object in gravity, precession of magnet in magnetic field, nuclear magnetic moment, nuclear magnetic resonance (PDF, 5 MB)  

Week 12 (May 24th, 2024)


nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), strong nuclear force, nuclear structure PHY127-FS2024-L12.pdf (PDF, 25 MB) More on solenoids (sec. 8.2), and induced currents due to changing magnetic moments (sec. 8.3) in script. 
Week 13 (May 31st, 2024) Nuclear stability, nuclear decay, alpha, beta, gamma radiation.  Decay series chains. Half lives.  Bethe-Bloch energy loss.  Dose delivered. Nuclear fission. Nuclear fusion.   PHY127-FS2024-L13.pdf (PDF, 31 MB)  


Weiterführende Informationen

Other info