Apr 5

Physics 123 Speaker Series: Week 2

Fri, April 5, 2024 • 3:30pm - 4:30pm (1h) • Olin 141

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is pleased to announce this year’s Physics 123 Line-up.  “What Physicists Do” is our annual series of five lectures by invited speakers, many of whom are Carleton Physics alumni.  It is intended to introduce students to a broad range of real-world physics and to give some perspective on the kinds of work done by people with a physics background.  The course is open to all interested students; those considering a major in physics are particularly encouraged to enroll.

Week 2 (April 5):  Lawrence Uricchio '05

The influential role of physics-based approaches in modern evolutionary biology

Evolutionary processes have led to an astounding diversity of life on Earth, and a fundamental goal of evolutionary genetics is to mechanistically explain how this diversity has arisen. Early in the history of evolutionary genetics, theoreticians discovered that reproduction and mutation within a population of individuals have natural analogues to Brownian motion. This provides a mathematical link between concepts derived in physics to models concerning the evolution of species, and allows mathematical tools describing diffusion to be applied in biological contexts. In this presentation, we will take a brief tour of the links between concepts in physics and evolutionary biology. Then we will visit three case studies in which such concepts can be applied to learn how adaptation may have shaped human genomes, how cancers and infectious diseases evolve within patients, and how species evolve in response to rapid environmental change.

Event Contact: Trenne Fields

Event Summary

Physics 123 Speaker Series: Week 2
  • Intended For: Students, Faculty, Staff
  • Categories: Careers, Lecture/Panel, food offered

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