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Infectious Chocolate Joy with a Side of Poissonian Statistics: An activity connecting life science students with subtle physics concepts

By Eric T. Holland1, Greg Manley1, Tamara Chiba1, Rona Ramos1, Simon Mochrie1, Jennifer Frederick1

Yale University

Lesson on what it means for biological processes to be Poissonian, published in CourseSource

Listed in Teaching Materials | resource by group Network for Integrating Bioinformatics into Life Sciences Education

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Version 1.0 - published on 04 Jan 2019 doi:10.25334/Q4Q43C - cite this

Licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

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Description

From the introduction:

Introductory physics courses are required for many programs in the life sciences, yet traditional curricula fail to help students meaningfully connect physical concepts with biological systems.  In this lesson, we describe an activity taught in a large introductory physics class designed for life science majors (n = 143; 80% premedical students). The lesson was integrated in a novel curriculum focusing on a quantitative approach to biological topics.  Students often hold the misconception that biological processes always happen in a uniform manner.  This activity uses the biological example of a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infecting T lymphocytes (T cells) to motivate understanding of the macroscopic distribution of HIV in T cells, a non-uniform, Poisson distribution. 

Citation:

Holland, E.T., Manley, G., Chiba, T., Ramos, R., Mochrie, S. and Frederick, J. 2015. Infectious Chocolate Joy with a Side of Poissonian Statistics: An activity connecting life science students with subtle physics concepts. CourseSource. https://doi.org/10.24918/cs.2015.9

 

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Network for Integrating Bioinformatics into Life Sciences Education

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