Our upcoming seminar will be Tuesday, July 20, 2021 from 5:30 – 6:30 PM PDT
Join us virtually at the Berkeley Public Library by Zoom or Facebook:
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“Chance in Microbial Evolution”
QinQin Yu (Physics)
— and —
“Surprising properties of tiny, imperfect conductors:
A short, electron-guided summer vacation to the quantum realm”
Elizabeth Dresselhaus (Physics)
What are the talks about?
Microbes are everywhere, from fermented foods to thermal hot springs, human microbiomes, and human pathogens. Microbes can evolve – or change their genetic material to adapt to the environment – extremely fast. Understanding the processes that drive microbial evolution will help us to better control them when they are harmful, and leverage them when they are helpful. To do this, we have to take into account the role of chance, or probability, in evolution. How does chance play a role in evolution, what consequences does it have, and what are scientists still learning about it?
Tiny electronics have become an important part of 21st century life. As electronic devices become smaller and smaller, it becomes important to understand how quantum mechanics affects electrons in these devices. We will follow an electron across the landscape of a tiny conductor as it dodges and collides with obstacles. These obstacles, or “imperfections”, give rise to fascinating physics — we will learn why rubies are red, how an imperfect conductor in a strong magnetic field surprised us with one of the most precise measurements in history, and how making a material more imperfect might make it better at converting heat into electricity.
Curious about learning more about their topics? Here are additional resources!
QinQin (Chance in Microbial Evolution):
– QinQin’s group’s research website with descriptions about their research
– Khan Academy video and article about genetic drift
– Computer simulation of genetic drift
– Veritasium episode about the E. coli Long Term Evolution Experiment
Elizabeth (Surprising properties of tiny, imperfect conductors: A short, electron-guided summer vacation to the quantum realm):
– “More is Different” article by Philip Anderson
– Videos on quantum mechanics by 3Blue1Brown on Youtube
– Kurzgesagt video on Quantum Computers
Did you miss the June seminar? Check out the recording on our YouTube channel! Visit our Past Seminars page to also look at resources recommended by our speakers for more information!
Special past event:
This past April, our team was invited to participate in a Berkeley Public Library event, where Madison interviewed author Libby Copeland on her book, “The Lost Family: How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are.” Check out the recording!