The Physics of Life Online Summer School 2020

Welcome to the Physics of Life Summer School!

We will be holding school online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While we can not offer the same immersion experience as past summers, we hope to be able to introduce you to a range of exciting topics in biological physics.

Register Here: 

NOTE: We have sent out multiple emails to the registered email addresses. These will come via our email listserv from: "CPBF Summer School <CPBFSummerSchool@Princeton.EDU>". If you have not received any emails, please check your spam folder. For problems, email


Who is the summer school for?

The school is geared towards undergraduate physics majors and will create a bridge between the kinds of physics you have seen in class and applications in living systems. Any undergraduate from any institution can participate.

How much does it cost?

The summer school is free of charge, sponsored by the NSF through the Center for the Physics of Biological Function.

When will the school be offered?

The summer school will meet every Monday from June 15 - August 3, 2020.

What is the format of the school?

Discussion Sessions 10am-11am EDT:

In lieu of an interactive discussion session, several members of each lecturer’s group will hold a live discussion centered around questions you ask ahead of time. For each session, please read the papers linked here and submit any questions you have about the material using by 5pm the Friday before the lecture using the Google Form link emailed to you. You may submit more than one question for each session. The discussion will then focus on the submitted questions. You may also ask questions live using the Q&A feature of the Zoom Webinar, but questions submitted ahead of time will give the panelists time to prepare. Lecture notes and slides will be uploaded to the Google Drive after each session.

Lectures Noon-1pm EDT:

Lectures will include ~30 minutes of introductory material and 30 minutes of current research. Live questions can be asked using the Q&A feature of the Zoom Webinar (please use the upvote button to let us know if you have a similar question to something already asked). Lecture notes and slides will be uploaded to the Google Drive after each session.

Why do I have to register?

We ask that you register for two reasons. First, this allows us to know how many people to expect and plan the networking logistics accordingly. Second, it allows us to avoid nefarious "Zoom bombers."

Video Links

All the discussion sections and lectures will be recorded an uploaded to the CPBF YouTube Channel.



Date Lecturer Topic
June 15



Bacterial motility and pattern formation
June 22



Multicellular structure formation in 3D
June 29



Cellular motility in complex environments
July 6



Intracellular phase separation
July 13



Statistical mechanics approaches to biological physics
July 20



Brains and behavior in simple organisms
July 27



How the brain interprets complex signals
August 3



Statistical Mechanics of Machine Learning