As biology becomes increasingly quantifiable, William Bialek posits that scientists can develop unifying theories, in the physics tradition, that predict precisely how living systems work. Unifying theories are more powerful than mathematical models, because they can be applied across diverse biological phenomena, such as transcriptional control of gene expression and neural signaling. However, as Bialek points out, many challenges lie ahead in constructing these comprehensive mathematical descriptions.
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We are grateful to our collaborators at the Lasker Foundation for recording this video.
About the Speaker
William Bialek is the John Archibald Wheeler/Battelle Professor in Physics and a member of the Lewis–Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University. A theoretical biophysicist, Bialek has explored research interests that span the dynamics of individual biological molecules to learning and cognition. He is best known for contributing to our understanding of coding and computation in the brain and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2012. Bialek is a highly regarded teacher that has dedicated much of his time to introducing physics students to the field of biophysics. He co-authored the textbook Spikes: Exploring the Neural Code and authored the textbook Biophysics: Searching for Principles.
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