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Seminar Neurophysics

There will be a special seminar on Neurophysics by a candidate for a faculty position. The seminar is scheduled Monday the 19th at 14:00 in room A1.04. Presence will be highly appreciated. When attending, please send a confirmation to e.lerner@uva.nl.

Speaker: Fred Wolf, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Göttingen, Germany

Spins in a ferromagnet, ants in an anthill, and nerve cells in the brain can spontaneously generate ordered states. As a result the individual elements - atoms, ants, and nerve cells - coordinate their “actions”: spins align, the ants transport food to the nest, and information is processed and transmitted through the brain. How such ordered states emerge is a fundamental topic in the theoretical physics of biological systems. This lecture will provide an introduction to one of the most intricate examples of biological self-organization, the self-organization of networks processing visual information in the brain. To set themselves up properly for their information processing tasks, nerve cells in the juvenile brain are able to generate a precisely ordered network. The presentation will highlight how the theory of phase transitions in ordered media can be used to understand exactly which nerve cell interactions are essential to generate the network’s wiring order. I will also illustrate a novel type of theory-guided experiment designed to detect signature events of network self-organization.