“Time Machine no.10, 2016, Budapest” (Image: Balint Alovits, www.balintalovits.com)
The Lensic Performing Arts Center
Community Event
Srividya Iyer-Biswas

We all intuitively understand what is alive and what is not. Equally intuitively we know that time flows forward and the past is distinct from the future. Yet casting these ideas into a predictive mathematical framework and applying it to understand the unique science of living things has been extraordinarily challenging. We now know that the appropriate language for exploring these questions is the mathematics of chance. In other contexts, such as investment strategies which account for fluctuating stock values, we have had success in using the rules of chance to make profitable predictions. Can we do the same to better understand the laws of life and time?

About the Speaker

Using rapid, iterative feedback between theory and experiments, SFI External Professor Srividya Iyer-Biswas (Purdue University) works to discover the basic physical laws that govern the probabilistic behavior of single cells, and that transcend details of specific biological systems. Her research uses a top-down physics approach, rather than more traditional approaches that focus on the cartography of genetic networks and on molecular details.

Iyer-Biswas and her team have reported predicative scaling laws governing the stochastic growth and division of cells, and have developed a theory that reveals the emergence of a scalable, cellular unit of time. Her current work involves extending these results to thermodynamics of organismal computation, time-dependent phenomena involving cellular decision-making, and laws that dictate complex biological and social phenomena.

Reserve your tickets to this Community Lecture through the Lensic Box Office online. These lectures are presented free to the community by the Santa Fe Institute, with additional support by the Lensic Performing Arts Center and the Santa Fe Reporter.


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