Schedule Jan 30, 2013
Can Evolution Be Understood Quantitatively?
Daniel Fisher, Stanford University

Sponsored by Friends of KITP

The basic laws of evolution have been known for more than a century and there is overwhelming evidence for the facts of evolution. Yet little is understood quantitatively about the dynamical processes that drive evolution: by physicists' standards the theory of evolution is far from fully-fledged. Huge advances in DNA sequencing technology and laboratory experiments have enabled direct observations of evolution in action and, together with theoretical developments, opened up great opportunities for dramatically advancing our understanding. This talk will focus on framing questions and the challenges to be faced, along with recent progress on addressing some of these.

Daniel Fisher is a David Starr Jordan Professor of Science at Stanford University. Educated at Cornell University and Harvard University, one of his first claims to fame was being mentioned (as a high-school student) in Martin Gardner's Scientific American column "Mathematical Games" for his solution of a coin-toss problem. Fisher started his career at AT&T Bell Laboratories, and subsequently, held faculty positions at Princeton and Harvard. Fisher's research has mostly been in theoretical condensed matter physics, but over the past ten years, his research has shifted to biology -- particularly dynamical processes in cells and evolutionary dynamics. He has also been actively involved in public policy, especially arms control and energy.

Introduction by Lars Bildsten

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