September 1st, 2006

homuncul

(no subject)

Francis S. Collins , M.D., Ph.D., is the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He led the successful effort to complete Human Genome Project (HGP).


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The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief
ISBN: 0743286391 -- July 2006

The elegance and complexity of the human genome is a source of profound wonder. That wonder only strengthens my faith, as it provides glimpses of aspects of humanity, which God has known all along, but which we are just now beginning to discover.
-- Faith and the Human Genome by Francis S. Collins ( PDF )



Pope Benedict XVI will this week host a private seminar to firm-up the Catholic Church’s stance on Darwinian evolution -- New Scientist
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homuncul

NEUROSCIENCE

From photons to perception: A physicist looks at the brain (2004)

In order to survive, all organisms (including humans!) have to solve many problems. One very important class of problems involves measuring and understanding what is happening in the world around us: Armed with eyes, ears, noses and the sensors in our skin, our brains take in enormous amounts of data, and for the most part we make sense out of all these data without even being aware that we are solving very difficult problems -- problems that still defeat the most powerful computers. There are obvious advantages to accomplishing these tasks more efficiently, but the laws of physics tell us that there are limits to how precisely any organism or machine could function. Remarkably, animals operate very close to these fundamental physical limits, so that our sensory systems are "almost perfect." I will give examples of this perfection, and emphasize that in order to operate near the physical limits organisms must build special mechanisms whose structure we can predict from physical principles.

-- the public lecture by Dr. William Bialek , Princeton University


Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP)
KITP Public Lecture Series

Programs and Conferences:
http://www.kitp.ucsb.edu/talks/past/
http://online.itp.ucsb.edu/online/


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A sensorimotor account of vision and visual consciousness -- J. Kevin O'Regan & Alva Noë


Why We See What We Do
A probabilistic strategy based on past experience explains the remarkable difference between what we see and physical reality -- AmericanScientist (2002)