Theory of Macromolecular conformations, 5p;  5A 1353

Will be given 1999/2000.

First lecture Monday 17 January 2000, 08:15-10:00, room F12 (Sing-Sing).
2nd lecture Friday 21 January 10-12  Q31

Weeks 4,5,6:
Wednesday 8-10  Q31
Thursday 10-12    Q32

week 7:
Wednesday 16 February 8-10  Q25
Thursday 17 February 10-12 Q32

week 8:
Wednesday 23 February 8-10  L41
Thursday 24 February  10-12 Q11  (Last lecture)


 Teacher:  Clas Blomberg,  phone: 08-790 7176;


To use statistical mechanical methods for describing the geometry of large macromolecules (polymers), and from that provide a background of physical properties, both for technically interesting artificial polymers, such as polyethylene and polypropene, and for biological polymers: proteins and nucleic acids, which are characterized by compact structures. Single molecules as well as polymer materials are treated. The starting point is the atomic structure and interaction energies between different atomic groups. From this, various possible structures (conformations) are characterized.


 Some background in statistical mechanics.


 Monomers and macromolecules. Conformations. Random structures and various mathematical models for these. The problem of excluded volume. The theory of Flory-Huggins. Interactions between close atom groups and their influence on the molecule structures. Characterization of some polymers from this aspect.

Proteins. Conformations of amino acids; interactions between close groups. Ramachandran- diagrams. Some structure types: -helices, -sheets. The relevance of protein structure and structure changes. Methods for predicting structures. Nucleic acids, DNA, RNA. Characterization of the conformations of nucleotides. Various helical structures. Supercoiling. Couplings between base pairs.

Polymer materials, various states and transitions. Scaling properties and dynamics based upon scaling ideas.

Course requirements

 Solutions of given home exercises, which are to be discussed with the examinator .


 Own material

 P. G. Des Gennes, Scaling Concepts in Polymer Physics. Cornell Univ. Press, 1979.

 G.E. Schultz, R.H.Schirmer, Principles of Protein Structure, Springer, 1979.