A mathematical way to think about biology

Why "is" biology log-normal? Why do some circuits oscillate? See biology from a physical sciences perspective.
Free tutorial
Rating: 4.7 out of 5 (563 ratings)
28,251 students
15hr 16min of on-demand video
English [Auto]

Apply physical sciences perspectives to biological research
Be able to teach yourself quantitative biology
Be able to communicate with mathematical and physical scientists


  • Algebra
  • Exposure to calculus (there is an appendix for students interested in review)


A mathematical way to think about biology comes to life in this lavishly illustrated video book. After completing these videos, students will be better prepared to collaborate in physical sciences-biology research. These lessons demonstrate a physical sciences perspective: training intuition by deriving equations from graphical illustrations.

"Excellent site for both basic and advanced lessons on applying mathematics to biology."
-Tweeted by the U.S. National Cancer Institute's Office of Physical Sciences Oncology

Who this course is for:

  • Undergraduate students
  • Graduate students
  • Postdoctoral scholars
  • Lab managers
  • Funding agency program staff
  • Principal investigators and grant writers
  • Citizen scientists
  • Patient advocates
  • Lifelong learners
  • Integrative Cancer Biology Program members
  • Physical Sciences Oncology Network members
  • National Centers for Systems Biology members


Physicist (PhD, Princeton 2010)
David Liao
  • 4.7 Instructor Rating
  • 563 Reviews
  • 28,251 Students
  • 1 Course

David's illustrations have been published in Science, Physical Review Letters, Molecular Pharmaceutics, Biosensors and Bioelectronics, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

University of California, San Francisco

Associate Professional Researcher 2015-Current

Analyst, 2012-2014

Postdoc, 2010-2012 Tlsty Lab

Princeton University (PhD, Physics, 2010 MA, Physics, 2007)

Advisor: Robert H. Austin

2006-2009 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Research Fellowship

2009-2010 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

Harvey Mudd College BS, Physics, 2005

Advisor: Robert J. Cave

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