EDUCATION: Biophysics Profs Go Online

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Science  01 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5522, pp. 1615
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5522.1615a

Biophysicists are the How Things Work experts of cell biology, figuring out matters such as how muscle fibers contract and how special proteins shunt ions and molecules across the cell membrane. Researchers in the field are now building the Biophysics Textbook OnLine, a free site that will eventually hold about 500 peer-reviewed chapters. Included is material for which no good teaching text now exists, says editor Lou DeFelice of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Over 100 chapters posted so far cover topics ranging from ion channels to intermolecular forces, mathematical models, membranes, and spectroscopy. Experiments and problem sets are also in the works. A current drawback to the site is that many chapters can be downloaded only in a single chunk as a PDF file. But the authors plan to add HTML versions stocked with hyperlinks.

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