Bialek begins by exploring how photon counting in vision offers important lessons about the opportunities for quantitative, physics-style experiments on diverse biological phenomena. He draws from these lessons three general physical principles--the importance of noise, the need to understand the extraordinary performance of living systems without appealing to finely tuned parameters, and the critical role of the representation and flow of information in the business of life. Bialek then applies these principles to a broad range of phenomena, including the control of gene expression, perception and memory, protein folding, the mechanics of the inner ear, the dynamics of biochemical reactions, and pattern formation in developing embryos.
Featuring numerous problems and exercises throughout, Biophysics emphasizes the unifying power of abstract physical principles to motivate new and novel experiments on biological systems.
An Introduction to Systems Biology: Design Principles of Biological Circuits builds a solid foundation for the intuitive understanding of general principles. It encourages the reader to ask why a system is designed in a particular way and then proceeds to answer with simplified models.