Past Events

  • Condensed Matter seminar: "Effects of substrate geometry on neuronal growth"

    DRL A4

    Cristian Staii, Tufts University

    Physical stimuli (stiffness of the growth substrate, gradients of various molecular species, geometry of the surrounding environment, traction forces etc.) play a key role in the wiring up of the nervous system. I will present a systematic experimental and theoretical investigation of neuronal growth on substrates with asymmetric geometries and textures. The experimental results show unidirectional axonal growth on these substrates.

  • "Physical Principles Underlying the Fractional Quantum Hall Effect"

    Towne 337

    Professor Juerg Froelich, Institute for Advanced Study


  • Condensed Matter seminar: "Grain Growth: materials, curvature flow, topology"

    DRL A4

    David Srolovitz, Penn Materials Science & Engineering

    Grain growth is the process through which a polycrystalline material coarsens.  Large grains grow, small grains shrink and disappear; the average grain size increases. This process is driven by the surface tension of the grain boundaries.  The idealization of this is simply mean curvature flow on a cellular network. Beautiful exact results in 2d, derived by von Neumann and Mullins, take the problem from geometry to topology. Several years ago, we extended these results to all dimensions.

  • Astrophysics and Cosmology Seminar

    DRL A6

    Stefano Anselmi (Case Western)

  • Condensed Matter seminar: "High-dimensional surprises near the glass and the jamming transitions"

    DRL A4

    Patrick Charbonneau, Duke University

    The glass problem is notoriously hard and controversial. Even at the mean-field level, there is little agreement about how a fluid turns sluggish while exhibiting but unremarkable structural changes. It is clear, however, that the process involves self-caging, which provides an order parameter for the transition. Contrasting caging and force balance also suggests how one can embed jamming within the glass description.

  • Astrophysics and Cosmology Seminar

    DRL A6

    Paul Sutter (Ohio State University/IAP)

  • Evolution Cluster Faculty Search Seminar: "The Rise and Fall of Fishes: How Macroecology and Global Events Shape Vertebrate Evolution"

    Lynch Lecture Hall (Chemistry)

    Lauren Sallan, University of Michigan

    Biological evolution was originally understood as a gradual, internally-driven process, and standing biodiversity entirely the result of the slow accumulation of positive changes. It is now clear that macroevolution (above species level) proceeds in booms and busts. It is influenced by emergent multiscale processes, which can turn short-term positive traits into long-term negatives and alter rates of evolutionary change.

  • Evolution Cluster Faculty Search Seminar: "Life and Death in a Petersham Cemetery: Dispersal and Demography Among the Fungi"

    Fagin Hall 116

    Anne Pringle, Harvard University

    Fungi are uniquely organized biological systems: apparently immortal, growing with modular and indeterminate body architectures, and able to use a range of seemingly unusual genetic mechanisms, including parasexuality, to generate genetic diversity. I use fungi as tools to test core principles of evolution and ecology. The dispersal of fungi is often perceived as passive; spores appear to drift with wind or water. In this talk I will describe experiments to challenge that perception; in fact, fungi actively manipulate local environments to reach new habitats.

  • Astrophysics and Cosmology Seminar

    DRL A6

    Meng Su

  • Evolution Cluster Faculty Search Seminar: "Laboratory experiments on the linguistic consequences of communicative interaction"

    Lynch Lecture Hall (Chemistry)

    Gareth Roberts, Yeshiva University

    If enough people take the same shortcut across a lawn, their footsteps will eventually create a path marking the route. While such a path certainly results from human action, it is not deliberately designed in the way that paved roads and highways are. Could this be a useful analogy for understanding the design of language? I will present experimental evidence indicating that — if we take a cultural-evolutionary approach to language — the answer is likely to be yes.