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Math and Physics as a Window on Biology

When combined and applied in the form of engineering, physics, and math provide a valuable perspective that allows biologists to discern the guiding hand of natural selection, thereby opening a window on the past, present, and future evolution of form and function. Throughout their career, the speaker has continually been amazed at how their rudimentary understanding of engineering has provided insight into the unexpected and wonderful ways in which plants and animals function and interact. To illustrate the joys of this perspective, they will present three case studies: (1) detecting the optimal design of spider webs and the silk from which they are constructed, (2) unraveling the mystery of why giant kelps have surprisingly skinny stipes, and (3) explaining how limpets evolved to survive temperatures higher than any that occur in their lifetimes. They will present the engineering as they would in a lecture, so attendees are encouraged to come prepared to interact and ask questions as the process unfolds.

This seminar will take place in-person at Hopkins Marine Station, and will be broadcasted to the Green Earth Sciences Building in room 104





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