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Physics meets Biology in the Garden of Earthly Delights
Tue, 1 Mar 2016, 18:00
Sarah A Harris, School of Physics and Astronomy and Astbury Centre for Structural and Molecular Biology, University of Leeds, UK.
Theoretical physics can quantitatively describe a diverse range of inert materials, from high energy plasmas in fusion reactors to ultra-cold atoms at temperatures close to absolute zero. However, even with the most power supercomputers we are not currently able to predict how biological molecules, such as proteins and DNA, will interact with each other or how they will respond to an environmental change. I will discuss what makes the molecules that constitute living systems so difficult to understand, using computer simulations to visualise how the interplay between order and chaos at the molecular level gives rise to their complex behaviours. While modern supercomputers are used to perform the computations, an equivalent portrait of life on Earth as a balance between the tranquillity of Heaven and the tumults of Hell is expressed by the Garden of Earthly Delights, painted 500 years ago by Hieronymus Bosch.
Doors open 17:30. The talk will be followed by an informal reception to which ticket holders are invited.