Presentation on theme: "Coping with Complexity April 1999 John J. Tyson Department of Biology Virginia Tech."— Presentation transcript:
Coping with Complexity April 1999 John J. Tyson Department of Biology Virginia Tech
Biology is the science of living things in all their complexity
Hey! Whats this Drosophila melanogaster doing in my soup?
To the death, Carlson! Hang on to the death!
April 26. After several months I now feel that these strange little rodents have finally accepted me as one of their own.
If there is an equation for a curve like a bell, there must be an equation for one like a bluebell, and if a bluebell, why not a rose? Do we believe nature is written in numbers? Thomasina, in Tom Stoppards play, Arcadia
What good is mathematics?
Mathematics is a disciplined way of thinking... –about numbers –about shapes –about patterns … in space and time
Why the Disconnect? Until recently the complexity of most biological problems was too great for the mathematical tools available. Now we have the tools, but we dont speak a common language. My purpose is to open a serious dialog between mathematicians and biologists...
The Golden Rectangle L W WL-W
The GR is self-similar…expand by (1.618)
William Harvey, 1628 An Anatomical Treatise of the Motion of the Heart and Blood Harveys conclusion: blood must circulate!
Kermack & McKendrick, 1927 Infectious Diseases S = fraction of population that is susceptible I = fraction of population that is infectious dI/dt = S I - I
Plague in Eyam, England, 1666 = 0.14 per day = 0.09 per day Susceptibles Infectives
Basic reproductive rate For infection to spread, rate of new infection > rate of removal R o = 1.6 for plague
Can we stop the spread of infection by immunization?
The Overcrowding Game... space = available = occupied
time space overcrowded
Bushes and Trees Arteries and Veins Bronchial tubes Self-similar, One-dimensional (lines) Pascals Tree
Hans Meinhardt, The Algorithmic Beauty of Sea Shells
Cymbiola (pattern = Serpinskis gasket)
Johnson Hall Human geometry is Euclidean Wild Carrot Lifes geometry is fractal P. Prusinkiewicz, Univ. Calgary
By this time everyone had learned how careful you have to be when dealing with numbers. E.B. White The Trumpet of the Swan Fractional dimension???
Excitable medium... = resting = excited = refractory space
J. Keener A. Panfilov
DNA Sequence Analysis New sequence: …AGAACCCTAG… …GACCATAGCG… Dictionary sequence:
A G A A C C C T A G G A C A T A G C G The DNA sequence game...
A G A A C C C T A G G A C A T A G C G
A G A A C C C T A G G A C C A T A G C G
A G A A C C C T A G G A C C A T A G C G AGAACCCTAG... GA. CCATAGCG
Mycoplasma genitalia 600,000 nucleotides (letters) 500 genes (words), 2/3 recognized How are the words organized into meaningful sentences and paragraphs?...ATAGCCCTAGTCAAGTCATGGTCGAAC... Human genome 3,000,000, ,000
Lab for Bioinformatics, Keio University, Japan The Institute for Genomic Research, Rockville MD
Do we really need an equation for every gene???
Solar System 9 planets + assorted moons 20 bodies x 3 degrees of freedom x 2 diff eqs = 120 differential equations (comparable to 1/4 Mycoplasma genitalia) We do not have to solve all these equations in order to put a man on the moon or send an orbiter to Jupiter and beyond!
Mathematics is a tool for thinking about complex patterns in a precise yet creative way.