Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Graduate Group

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BMB 628 - Principles of Scientific Instruments

Spring, even-numbered years (1/2 semester; 1/2 credit)

Wednesday and Fridays: 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon
103 Anatomy-Chemistry Building

Course Director: Paul Liebman

Number of Lectures: 12-16 (1.5 hrs in length)

Description: Proper use of the tools of one’s trade is essential to quality assurance. General confidence in the infallibility of scientific instruments can be the cause of serious misapplication of research effort. This course systematically reviews first principals of instrumental detection, operation, calibration, truth-testing, trouble shooting and data analysis. Approaches to error appraisal and avoidance are developed using common laboratory examples. Anyone who cares is welcome. And we should all care.

Course materials: Handouts. Offprints. Will continue search for good text.

Prerequisites: None

Course requirement: Participation in class discussion; Paper utilizing principals discussed in class to analyze pitfalls of an instrumental method not discussed in class (approval of instructor required).

How students are evaluated: Term paper and class discussion


Introduction to Unix, text editing
Introduction to Python
Elements of programming: Control structures
Elements of programming: Data structures
Elements of programming:
Special cases/end conditions
Elements of programming: I/O
Numerical/computational programming
Handling, parsing of database files
Algorithms: Sampling, random and Monte Carlo
Algorithms: Integration
Algorithms: Optimizations
Algorithms: Geometry operations