Saturday Morning Physics
Saturday Morning Physics is a series of multimedia cutting-edge science talks for general audiences. During the Winter 2006 LSA Theme Semester, Explore Evolution, many of the talks will have evolutionary science as theme. The talks are free and open to the public. High school students are especially encouraged to attend, and audience members of all ages are welcome.
Talks take place at 170 Dennison Building, 500 Church Street on the University of Michigan’s central campus.
The winter term Saturday Morning Physics series is sponsored by the U-M Department of Physics and gifts from friends of the program, and the Winter 2006 LSA Theme Semester, Explore Evolution. Videotape funding is provided by Pfizer Inc.
For more information, please view the U-M Physics Department website, http://www.lsa.umich.edu/physics/seminars/smp/.
Evolution: The Fossil Record and the Origin of Whales
Philip Gingerich, U-M Geological Sciences and Museum of Paleontology
Evolution is a science of change through time, founded in the 18th and 19th centuries to describe and explain fossils that geologists observed to differ in successive layers of the earth’s crust. Microevolutionary studies in paleontology link species through close intermediates and address change on short time scales. Macroevolutionary studies trace profound changes in body plans through longer intervals, as seen in the origin and early evolution of whales.
Nanomedicine - a New Frontier for Physics
Jens-Christian Meiners, U-M Physics
Life emerges on the nanometer length scale between the size of a molecule and a cell. Discover the often surprising and counterintuitive physical principles that govern biological systems on that scale, and look at how they inspire new approaches in the development of medical diagnostics and therapeutics.
Evolution of Infectious Diseases: From Host-Parasite Arms Races to Superbugs
Johannes Foufopoulos, U-M School of Natural Resources
Pathogens have always existed in a changing environment where keeping up with the quickly shifting immune defenses of the host is key for survival. Because of their impressive capacity to respond rapidly to change, bacteria and viruses have been able to evolve multiple molecular answers to many of today’s antibiotics. Learn how the rise of antibiotic resistance can impact your life and what is being done to deal with this challenge.
Genomes and Evolution
George Zhang, U-M Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
How big is a genome and what elements are in a genome? How does the genome change in evolution? Do genomic studies provide any novel perspectives on the structure, function, and evolution of cellular life? How will genomics change our daily lives in the future?
Randolph Nesse, U-M Psychiatry & Psychology
If natural selection is so great, then why is life so full of pain, cough, nausea, fever, anxiety and fatigue? A signal detection analysis reveals it is for the same reason that smoke detectors scream when we make toast. Knowing that most instances of defensive arousal are unnecessary but completely normal offers the missing scientific foundation for deciding how we should use new drugs.
How Old: The Physics of Dating Artifacts
Fred Becchetti, U-M Physics
Documenting the course of evolution depends on the accurate dating and sequencing of ancient artifacts. Physics has provided some of the primary techniques for doing this, in particular radioactive dating such as C14 dating. The basic techniques and some of the recent developments in this field will be reviewed together with some of the implications.
Scientific Uncertainty and Public Policy:
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