Abstract. We present an elementary introduction to the protein folding problem directed toward applied mathematicians. We do not assume any prior knowledge of statistical mechanics or of protein chemistry. Our goal is to show that as well as being an extremely important physical, chemical, and biological problem, protein folding can also be precisely formulated as a set of mathematics problems. We state several problems related to protein folding and give precise definitions of the quantities involved. We also attempt to give physical derivations justifying our model
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