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Optics for Biophysics

Optics for Biophysics is an interdisciplinary course training life science, physical science and engineering student in the unifying field of optics. The course is taught as a Studio Physics or Team-Based learning method in combination with a long-term project. The long-term project is to design and build a modern light microscope. Although a lot goes into this course, here I provide a list of equipment needed to build a working light microscope from component parts. 

For a preprint of the paper describing this course, click here: Ross-AJP-Optics.pdf


The funds to purchase the equipment for the courses at UMass were purchased through a Cottrell Scholars Award grant to JLR from Research Corporation for Science Advancement.

For a link to a DropBox folder with all the course materials including lectures from early versions of the course, in-class hands-on activities from later versions of the course, a quote from vendors the the equipment, example exams, and all other course information please email me at


For information on other courses that use this framework, go to: Summer Schools, Physics 440: iLab

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