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1st Biology for Physics Conference: Is there new Physics in Living Matter?

Thanks to all participants having contributed to a successful event.

The conference report by Felix Ritort can be viewed here.

NEWS: Download the Preliminary Programme


I am most delighted to announce the workshop we are organizing in Barcelona the 15th-18th January 2017 entitled ¨Biology for Physics: is there new physics in living matter?¨. The workshop is organized under the auspices of the Division of Physics for Life Sciences from the European Physical Society (EPS), and will be held at the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB).

Since the dawn of modern science, physics has developed the measurement tools for quantitative inquiry, and provided mathematical laws to describe and understand the world around us. In turn, physical methods have traditionally found fruitful applications in chemistry and biology. In the current century, it is not exaggerated to say that biology has been the fastest developing science, but it is also not less true that physics and chemistry contributions have been essential to make biology the quantitative science it is nowadays. However, despite all this progress, living matter has astonishing features that, when confronted to those of inanimate matter, make physicists suspect that they are missing something in their current understanding of the living. This leads us to pose the question: is there new physics in living matter?

With this spirit and motivation, and in order to boost the scientific activities in the Division of Physics and Life Sciences of the EPS, I am glad to announce the launch of this workshop on the relations between biology and physics.

The workshop aims to bring about 25 prominent scientists who have been working over the past years on several biologically motivated problems, have made outstanding contributions in their respective fields and for whom physics is an everyday source of inspiration to better understand biology. In this regard this is not a standard workshop where the latest scientific results on a well-defined topic are presented. Rather it is a forum where recent scientific results are presented but dressed in a way to convey the audience with personal views on the aforementioned questions and to trigger discussion and reflection on it. In addition to the invited talks the workshop will have lot of time devoted for poster exhibitions by young researchers to promote exchanges and interaction between them and our invited speakers. 

The contents of the workshop are organized under the umbrella of a few selected themes which all share the underlying playground of nonequilibrium physics which is at the core of living matter. Topics will include

•    Physical principles of mechanochemical networks: new challenges for soft matter physics

•    Systems biology and self-organization: from active matter to cells and tissues

•    Stochastic thermodynamics: from single molecules to complex machinery

•    Physics of biological evolution: from the second law to the selection of structures

We look forward to welcoming you in Barcelona!

Dr Felix Ritort
DPL Chair, Universitat de Barcelona



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