Resources and community for teaching physics for life sciences

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Life Sciences Topics

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About the Living Physics Portal

About the Living Physics Portal

The Living Physics Portal is an online environment for physics faculty to share and discuss free curricular resources for teaching introductory physics for life sciences (IPLS). The objective of the Portal is to improve the education of the next generation of medical professionals and biologists by making physics classes more relevant for life sciences students. We do this by supporting physics instructors in finding and creating curricular materials and engaging in community discussions with other instructors to improve their courses.

What is an introductory physics for life science (IPLS) course?

Undergraduates who major in life sciences (biology, physiology, pre-med, physical therapy, etc.) are often required to take introductory physics, but find the content of the course lacks relevance to their future careers. But, physics is actually incredibly relevant and foundational to life sciences content. To bridge this gap, innovative physics faculty from around the US are developing fantastic new curricula that integrate physics and life sciences to make it exciting and relevant for life sciences students. These new life-science relevant courses are usually housed in physics department and are called “Introductory Physics for Life Science” (IPLS) courses.

What can I do with the Living Physics Portal?

  • Find relevant IPLS materials for an entire course or part of a course
  • Contribute & review IPLS teaching materials
  • Join a growing community of faculty committed to innovative teaching in IPLS courses
  • Find support for learning about new pedagogies and interdisciplinary content for IPLS

We aim to be not just a repository of online instructional resources, but a thriving community working on educational change. We intend for the Living Physics Portal to develop a thriving community that:

  • communicates with one another regularly,
  • seeks support from one another,
  • provides support to one another, and
  • uses these tools to sustain constructive professional collaborations.

Who can I contact if I have more questions about the Living Physics Portal?

Email us at

Who created the Living Physics Portal?

The Portal is created and administered by an interdisciplinary team of physicists, biologists, researchers, developers, and user experience designers at the American Association of Physics Teachers and 8 collaborating colleges and universities.

American Association of Physics Teachers:

University of Maryland:

Portland State University:

  • Ralf Widenhorn (seed contributor, Physics in Medicine: Active Learning Tools for Undergraduate Physics)

Rockhurst University:

University of New Hampshire:

  • Dawn Meredith (seed contributor, Modeling Physics in an Integrated Physics Course for Biologists / Fluids for Life Science Students)

Mercy College:

  • Nancy Beverly (seed contributor, Life-focused physics and the Humanized Physics Project)

Swarthmore College:

  • Catherine Crouch (seed contributor, Introductory Physics with Biological and Medical Applications)
  • Benjamin Geller (seed contributor, Introductory Physics with Biological and Medical Applications)

George Washington University:

  • Mark Reeves (seed contributor, Bio-focused Introductory Physics Course)
  • Phoebe Sharp (graduate research assistant)

Michigan State University:

Montgomery College:

Theresa Neil Strategy + Design:

  • Mathew “Sandy” Martinuk (user experience designer)
  • Rachel Price (user experience designer and information architect)
  • Ivan Bachev (visual designer)
  • Stephanie Wilson-Wagner (design strategy manager)


Advisory Board:

  • Eric Brewe (physics, Drexel University)
  • Melanie Cooper (chemistry, Michigan State U.)
  • Michael Klymkowsky (biology, U. of Colorado)
  • Cathy Manduca (geoscience, SERC/Cutting ivEdge)
  • Joel Michael (medicine, Rush Medical College)
  • Michelle Smith (biology, U. of Maine)
  • Nawal Benmouna (physics, Montgomery College, Maryland)
  • Wolfgang Losert (biophysics, U. of Maryland)
  • Tim Mckay (physics, University of Michigan)

External Evaluator

  • Ellen Iverson (SERC, Carleton College)

How is the Living Physics Portal funded?

The Living Physics Portal is funded through a National Science Foundation grant (award no. 1624185). All resources on the Living Physics Portal are free to use. We are working to develop partnerships with a variety of on-demand publishers and online homework deliverers to grant them non-exclusive rights to deliver selected materials for a fee. These partnerships will support the long-term maintenance of the Portal, but will not prevent faculty from accessing materials directly from the Portal at no charge.