Fall 2014 Seminar

Talks are 12:00 noon on Thursdays in Olin 268, unless otherwise noted.

September 11, 2014

The Living Cell as Viewed by a Physicist

Ben Vollmayr-Lee

Ben Vollmayr-Lee, Bucknell University

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September 25, 2014

Evolution and Survival at Inflating Frontiers

Max Lavrentovich

Max Lavrentovich, University of Pennsylvania

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October 9, 2014

Fermions & Bosons, Forces & Pressures: Insights into Thermodynamics from Simple Quantum Mechanics

Marty Ligare

Martin Ligare, Bucknell University

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October 16, 2014

Making Cells with Active Microtubule Mixtures

Jennifer Ross

Jennifer Ross, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Abstract: Biology utilizes energy to organize itself from the nanoscale to the macroscopic scale. We seek to determine the universal principles of organization from the molecular scale that give rise to architecture on the cellular scale. We are specifically interested in the organization of the microtubule cytoskeleton, a rigid, yet versatile network in most cell types. Microtubules in the cell are organized by motor proteins and crosslinkers. This work applies the ideas of statistical mechanics and condensed matter physics to the non-equilibrium pattern formation behind intracellular organization using the microtubule cytoskeleton as the building blocks. We examine these processes in a bottom-up manner by adding increasingly complex protein actors into the system. Our systematic experiments expose nature’s laws for nanoscale to micron scale organization and have large impacts on biology as well as illuminating new frontiers of non-equilibrium physics. Much of the work I will be sharing was done by undergraduate researchers.

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October 30, 2014

Title to be announced

Douglas Edmonds

Douglas Edmonds, Emory and Henry College


November 13, 2014

Non-equilibrium Statistical Mechanics: a growing frontier of “pure and applied” theoretical physics

Royce Zia

Royce Zia, Virginia Tech

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December 4, 2014. Joint Math/Physics & Astronomy Seminar.

Title to be announced

Erik Bollt

Erik Bollt, Department of Mathematics, Clarkson University