October 27, 2015

‘Biology & Mathematics – the Unbreakable Link’ – 27 October 2015

The AIMS South Africa Public Lecture Series presented a talk titled:

‘Biology & Mathematics – the Unbreakable Link’

By Prof. Alan R. Kay, Dept. Biology, University of Iowa, USA

Abstract: Verbal accounts of biological processes, however detailed, often remain incomplete and unsatisfactory. Mathematical models go beyond what can be said in words. In putting together a model, one sets up a system of equations that attempts to emulate the system. If the model captures the essential features of the system it will reproduce the system’s behavior. The model also carries within it an ‘understanding’ of the system that might otherwise elude the scientist. This is a truism in most physical sciences but sadly, for the most part, not one in biology. In this talk I will use cell size regulation as an example of an aspect of biology where words fail.