At the Nexus of Physics and Biology

Eugenie V. Mielczarek
Department of Physics, George Mason University


The David Franklin Bleil Memorial Lecture in Physics

2251st Meeting Abstract
Friday, March 6, 2009 at 8:15 PM

Abstract:

Genetics specifies the organism but all of its functions are determined by gravity, electromagnetism, thermodynamics and quantum mechanics. From the mechanics of fueling cells, to the automotive-like clutches of E.coli bacteria, and the ability of geckos to walk on the ceiling, the physics of living organisms is remarkable. In 2008 the National Academies of Sciences published “Inspired by Biology: From Molecules to Materials to Machines,” examining how research at the intersection of the physics and biology will lead to new materials and devices, with applications ranging from nanotechnology to medicine. This lecture will describe several of these systems and the physics which governs their motion.

About the Author:

Eugenie Vorburger Mielczarek is Emeritus Professor of Physics at George Mason. Her experimental researches in materials science, chemical physics and biological physics have been published in The Physical Review, the Journal of Chemical Physics and the Biology of Metals. She has been a visiting scientist at the National Institutes of Health, and a visiting Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is a recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award at George Mason University. She has advised National Public Radio, judged the U. S. Steel-American Institute of Physics prize for science journalism, and written book reviews for Physics Today. She was the primary editor of “Key Papers in Biological Physics.” She is the author of a popular science book. Her most recent article was a review of research frontiers linking Physics and Biology.


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