Integrating classes

Coming into this semester, it seemed as if I was taking a lot of classes that were somewhat unrelated to my field of study. I knew that my introductory bioengineering class would be extremely relevant, but when I was registering for Mechanics of Engineering, which deals with determining the forces and moments on structures, and Physics II, which deals with Electricity and Magnetism, I was a little confused about how they were going to fit into my overall curriculum. Sure, they were important to know from a general engineering standpoint, but I had no idea how integral they would be in the study of biology. Little did I know that I would soon be proven very wrong, which couldn’t make me happier.

For example, a couple of weeks ago in my bioengineering class we were discussing neuronal cells and the membrane potential of a cell. To my surprise, the professor related the ion channels and movement of ions across a cell to a circuit, which we were able to diagram to accurately represent the components of ion flow. Then, using Kirchhoff current law, Kirchhoff voltage law, and ohm’s law, we would be able to solve for the potentials for specific ions, membrane potential, or resistivity of the ion channel. The day we learned all this in bioE was the same day that we were going to take a test on Kirchhoff law in Physics.

Today, we also had some serious overlap with my mech class while studying blood flow. Blood, I learned, is a non-Newtonian fluid, which means its viscosity changes with its shear rate. In a Newtonian fluid, like water, viscosity stays constant. Although I haven’t gotten into fluid mechanics just yet, we were just talking about shear stress on machine joints just a few days ago in my Mechanics lecture.

Way back when in high school, I felt like barely any of my classes were going to end up being hugely applicable for my career choice later in life. Now, I’m so happy that all my classes are finally starting to really come together and make sense for my major.


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