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The 22nd Annual Schrödinger Lecture, hosted by His Excellency, the Austrian Ambassador; The School of Physics, Trinity College Dublin; and The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, takes place on Tuesday 9th December 2016 at 7.30 pm in the Schrödinger Lecture Theatre, School of Physics, Trinity College Dublin.
The talk by Professor Nick Barton of the Institute of of Science and Technology Austria is entitled 'Reflections on Schrödinger’s ‘What is life?’’. A reception will take place immediately following the talk.
Schrödinger's “What is life” was written just before the structure of the genes was discovered, establishing modern molecular biology. It was influential in attracting physicists into biology, and its arguments proved largely accurate. Schrödinger’s work was an impressive attempt to infer biology from first principles, yet it ultimately played little direct role in unravelling the mechanistic basis of genetics. In recent years, new techniques have given us extraordinarily detailed information on the molecular basis of living organisms, including imaging of gene expression in single living cells, and complete genome sequences. Yet, this mass of data does not by itself answer central questions. I will discuss whether there are general principles of biology that are independent of the molecular details, and how far we may expect to understand them in the coming years.
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School of Physics, Trinity College Dublin
The School of Physics has a long and distinguished history of teaching and research. Richard Helsham, the original Erasmus Smith's Professor, was the first to lay out Newton's methods in a form suitable for the undergraduate, so that his Lectures in Natural Philosophy were in use for a hundred years in the College and elsewhere in Europe.
Later holders of the chair include G. F. Fitzgerald, famous in relativity theory, and E. T. S. Walton, the only Irish recipient of a Nobel prize in Science. Fitzgerald campaigned for the building of a dedicated Physical Laboratory, but sadly he did not live to see the erection of the elegant building completed in 1906. The Sami Nasr Institute for Advanced Materials, completed in 2000, houses the central part of the School today.
Excellent modern facilities for teaching and research are now provided over a number of buildings including CRANN, a state of the art centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology research housed in a purpose built 6000m² building.
The School currently consists of a very lively community of over 200, including 28 academic staff, 50 postdoctoral fellows and over 100 graduate students, representing many different nationalities.