I have had wonderful teachers. John Hopﬁeld suggested that a textbook could be part of a thesis, and always shared the joy that he ﬁnds in physics. Sterl Phinney (my advisor)and Peter Goldreich taught me order-of-magnitude physics. Carver Mead shared his greatscientiﬁc insight and his gentle personal wisdom. Steve Frautschi encouraged me to lead asection of Physics 1a, and generously gave me guidance on this unusual thesis project.David Middlebrook taught me that to calculate is human, but to approximate is di-vine. Henry Lester, and the Computation and Neural Systems program, introduced me tobiophysics. Lyn Dupr´e copyedited the parts of this dissertation with no mistakes, and, inthe process, trained my ear. Erik Winfree showed me what clear thinking means. JoshuaZucker guided my experiments in teaching. Margaret Lambert taught me how to play Bach;and Don Caldwell welcomed me into the choir, although I had never sung before.Comments from Jennifer Linden, Dap Hartmann, and John Hopﬁeld have made thetextbook useful to a wider audience. Comments from Joseph Keane, Dinakar Ramakrishnan,Warren Smith, and Erik Winfree have made the primality model more rigorous.Donald Knuth wrote the TEX typesetting system. John Hobby wrote MetaPost, withwhich I drew most of the ﬁgures. Thousands of volunteers wrote the Linux operating system.The Hertz Foundation supported me in my last three years of graduate study. TheWhitaker Foundation supported me in my ﬁrst year. I also received support from CarverMead, John Hopﬁeld, and William Goddard, all of whom have been my advisors.Many people here have shared their friendship. I particularly want to mention SarahBates, Carlos Brody, Craig Jin, Elisabeth Moyer, Sam Roweis, Rahul Sarpeshkar, MicahSiegel, Steven and Athina Quake, and Erik Winfree. To my other friends, here and from theyears BC (before Caltech), thank you as well. Laura Rodriguez, den mother of the Hopﬁeldgroup, kept us sane and happy.My brothers, Sunit and Ashish, and my parents, Sushma and Subhash, have given mea home.
My thanks to all.