Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology

What will this year´s lectures be about?

On Thursday February 9, it’s time for the yearly Celsius-Linné lectures. Two of the world's top scientists will come to BMC at Uppsala University to talk about the link between their research and current issues of our lives and our time.

We have interviewed the hosts of this year´s lecturers to learn what we can expect to learn.

At the Celsius lecture we will be "Counting on chaos" 

At the Linné lecture we will get "Rabies - a key to understanding ourselves"

Counting on chaos

John Guckenheimer

This year's Celsius lecturer is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics John Guckenheimer at Cornell University, USA. His host is Warwick Tucker, Professor of Mathematics and Head of the Department of Mathematics at Uppsala University.

 
John Guckenheimer’s lecture is titled The Remarkable Universality of Nonlinear Dynamics – what is it about?

 

Warwick Tucker,
Professor at the
Department of
Mathematics and host
of this year´s Celsius
lecturer
John Guckenheimer
 

Warwick Tucker: “His talk will be about the subject of dynamical systems which is sometimes referred to as chaos theory. This is a broad area of research, close to 100 years old, that describes the long-term evolution of everything from microbiological to galactic systems. The research within the field of dynamical systems aims to unravel what happens in the long run. John Guckenheimer is a world renowned leader within dynamical systems and has contributed greatly to much of the research in this field. So this is an excellent opportunity to learn more from a world authority.”

Why is it important to know about dynamical systems?

“Because our entire existence is based on increasingly complex systems and models. To understand system models such as climate models or financial systems, we must know something about the theory of dynamical systems. A hundred years ago, we used to study astronomical phenomenon and wonder whether the solar system was stable. Today, we examine our existence at all scales; from microscopic levels, such as intracellular reactions, to coarse-grained systems for the modelling of global migration patterns.”

“Meteorology is a classic example of a dynamical system where you can prove that even simple models exhibit chaos. This means that you cannot make predictions too far into the future. It also provides other important information: When should we give up? When it is not worth wasting more time and money trying to develop long-term forecasts?”

“Dynamical systems can be explained on the basis of many everyday examples and can be linked to a variety of different fields such as biology, physics, sociology, economics, and medicine. It all depends on what you want to apply it to, and what expertise you need. But the mathematical methods are the same and that is what makes dynamical systems so interesting in my opinion.”


Is there any question you would like to pose to John Guckenheimer?

“Since dynamical systems is also my area of research, I could ask him a lot of questions about this field. But I’m more interested in his thoughts on how mathematics has changed and will continue to change with the advent of the extremely powerful computers we’ve got today. Mathematics has existed for thousands of years, but only in the past 50 years have we had access to this huge increase in computing power. How will mathematics be transformed considering our ability to make all kinds of calculations and simulations?”

CELSIUS-LINNÉ LECTURES 9 FEBRUARY, 2017

Time: 14:00 – approx. 17:00

Location: The Svedberg Hall (B8), BMC (Biomedical Centre)

Free admission. No registration is needed.

CELSIUS-LINNÉ SYMPOSIUM 10 FEBRUARY, 2017

Time: 09:30 – 15:00

Location: The Svedberg Hall (B8), BMC (Biomedical Centre)

Free admission. No registration is needed.

Learn more about the Celsius-Linné lectures and symposium at Uppsala University

More about John Guckenheimer’s research

 Anneli Björkman

Rabies - a key to understanding ourselves

Peter L. Strick

The 2017 Linné lecturer is Professor Peter L. Strick, researcher in neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh, USA. His host is Per Ahlberg, Professor of Evolutionary Organismal Biology at Uppsala University.

Peter L. Strick’s lecture is titled Using Rabies Virus to Investigate the Mind-Body Problem – what is it about?

 

Per Ahlberg, Professor
at the Department of
Organismal Biology
and host of this year´s
Linné lecturer
Peter L. Strick

Per Ahlberg: "He'll talk about the possibility to study the links between our perceived reality in the brain and our bodily reactions. It’s well known that the body responds very clearly to different moods, that you may actually get physical symptoms from emotional states, so-called psychosomatic phenomena. An example is the child who gets a stomach ache because it doesn't want to go to school. What makes Peter Strick’s research so interesting is that he focuses on the physical basis for these kinds of experiences. He tracks the nerve pathways that connect the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain where many of our advanced mental functions take place, with organs such as the adrenal glands, producing adrenaline. In this way, we’re able to follow a direct connection between brain and body.”

"The problem is that the nervous system is incredibly complex with billions of neurons, interwoven and connected to each other in every possible way. To understand this system, you need to be able to trace the circuits within the nervous system using some kind of substance. And the one Strick uses is genetically modified rabies virus. Rabies is one of the most terrifying diseases we know about: a viral disease transmitted through animal bites and that in a very short time destroys the brain, leading to madness and death. Since it’s spread along these nerve pathways, the virus can be used to study the wiring system.”

"What’s unusual about Peter Strick is that here we have a scientist who’s working on something with direct links to our self-perceived reality. Not just what the world out there looks like, but how we perceive ourselves. He will talk about matters related to emotions and physical experiences that we’ve all had, and that despite the fact that they form a very central part of our physical life experience, they really haven’t been understood at all at a mechanistic level. It will be very interesting to listen to.”

The day after the lecture, the Celsius-Linné lecturers will participate at a seminar at BMC,themed Behavior and pattern - complexity made simple, which is also open to the public – what will Peter Strick talk about then?

 "He will continue on the theme of the lecture and talk about why mice are unable to play the violin. It will again be a question of mind-body connections: how mice and humans manage different kinds of information and what we are capable of doing with those abilities.”

 CELSIUS-LINNÉ LECTURES 9 FEBRUARY, 2017

Time: 14:00 – approx. 17:00

Location: The Svedberg Hall (B8), BMC (Biomedical Centre)

Free admission. No registration is needed.

CELSIUS-LINNÉ SYMPOSIUM 10 FEBRUARY, 2017

Time: 09:30 – 15:00

Location: The Svedberg Hall (B8), BMC (Biomedical Centre)

Free admission. No registration is needed.

Learn more about the Celsius-Linné lectures and symposium at Uppsala University

More about Peter Strick´s research

Anneli Björkman