Schedule Feb 24, 2010
The Great Ideas of Biology
Paul Nurse, Rockefeller University

Three of the ideas of biology are the gene theory, the theory of evolution by natural selection, and the proposal that the cell is the fundamental unit of all life. When considering the question of what is life these ideas come together, because the special way cells reproduce provides the conditions by which natural selection takes place allowing living organisms to evolve. A fourth idea is that the organization of chemistry within the cell provides explanations for life’s phenomena. A new idea is the nature of biological self organization on which living cells and organisms process information and acquire specific forms.

Paul Nurse is a geneticist and cell biologist who has worked with the fission yeast to understand how the eukaryotic cell cycle is controlled and how cell shape and cell dimensions are determined. His major work has been on the cyclin dependent protein kinases and how they regulate onset of s-phase and mitosis and ensure there is only one s-phase each cell cycle. He is President of rockefeller university, New York and previously served as Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK. He shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and has received the Albert lasker Award and the royal society’s Copley Medal.

Introduction by David Gross.

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