Evolution Before Biology - a talk by Nicholas Guttenberg, VŠCHT Praha (building A), Čtvrtek, 12. Září 2019

We are happy to welcome Nicholas Guttenberg to Prague to talk on the topic on Evolution Before Biology. The talk is free of charge but tickets are compulsory as space is limited. 
Talk abstract
Before the emergence of a cell with well-defined membranes, genetic material, transcription and translation system, and replication, life would need to begin from complex chemical mixtures that would, one way or another, ultimately result in those complex structures. In biology, we rely on evolutionary processes to discover complex structures which would be impossible to spontaneously emerge fully formed. In a chemical world, we would like to rely on the same kind of evolutionary account to explain things such as the discovery of catalysts, cell membranes, and ribosomes. However, there are many things we can take for granted in biology, which are non-trivial in chemical systems. While genetic replication can preserve arbitrary information (unlimited heredity), autocatalytic chemical systems exhibit only limited heredity that can only preserve some kinds of information. Whereas there are well-defined separations between individuals that let us use the concept of populations in biology, in chemistry the evolutionary units of individuality are unclear. And while in biology, selection pressures are all focused through the replication of the cell or organism as a whole, in chemistry not all things which would be good for the individual are able to be selected. In this talk, I go over our attempts to quantify and detect concepts such as heredity and selectability as they apply to (simulated) chemical reaction networks, and will share results on how evolution in chemical systems may have its own character markedly distinct from biological evolution.
About Nicholas
Nicholas is a computational physicist working on the broad application of the tools and techniques of physics to complex systems - in biology and evolution, soft matter materials science and dynamics, and the hydrodynamics of complex fluids (active particles, geophysical flows, etc).
Specialties: Complex systems, evolutionary dynamics, granular physics, fluid dynamics (turbulence, active matter), rare event methods 

Čtvrtek, 12. Září 2019, VŠCHT Praha (building A), Evolution Before Biology - a talk by Nicholas Guttenberg

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