In response to increasing calls for the reform of the undergraduate science curriculum for life science majors and pre-medical students (Bio2010, Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians, Vision & Change), an interdisciplinary team has created NEXUS/Physics: a repurposing of an introductory physics curriculum for the life sciences. The curriculum interacts strongly and supportively with introductory biology and chemistry courses taken by life-science students, with the goal of helping students build general, multi-discipline scientific competencies. NEXUS/Physics stresses interdisciplinary examples and the content differs markedly from traditional introductory physics to facilitate this: it extends the discussion of energy to include interatomic potentials and chemical reactions, the discussion of thermodynamics to include enthalpy and Gibbs free energy and includes a serious discussion of random vs coherent motion including diffusion. The development of instructional materials is coordinated with careful education research. Both the new content and the results of the research are described in a series of papers for which this paper serves as an overview and context.

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Thanks to Michael Fischer and Chris Jarzynski for highly useful conversations.
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Redish@UMd.edu. In the near term, we plan to create a site for instructors where comments and conversations can be carried out on the site itself.
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