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Two Stories of Light and Life

Date 3 April 2023 Time 11:00 - 12:00
Location AMOLF Lecture Room
Speaker Mazi Jalaal (University of Amsterdam)
Category Public Colloquium


My talk will have two parts. First, I will tell you how a single cell produces light to survive; then, I will explain how a huddle of chloroplasts in cells reacts to light to optimize plant life.

Part I: Bioluminescence (light generation in living organisms) has mesmerized humans since thousands of years ago. I will first go over the recent progress in the physics of single-cell bioluminescence (PRL 125 (2), 028102, 2020) and then will go beyond and present a lab-scale model of bioluminescent breaking waves.

Part II: To remain efficient during photosynthesis, plants can re-arrange the internal structure of cells by the active motion of chloroplasts. We show that the chloroplasts can behave like a densely packed light-sensitive active matter, whose non-gaussian athermal fluctuations can lead to various self-organization scenarios, including glassy dynamics under dim lights (PNAS 120 (3), 2216497120, 2023).

Abstract short colloquium:

Should an Artificial Intelligence (AI) be listed as an author in a scientific paper? Few would have expected this dilemma to become so relevant so soon. However, in the last year the general public has had a first glimpse at the possibilities offered by AI, from interfaces like chatGPT. This early adoption of the new technology has already generated waves of excitement and anxiety throughout society, including the scientific world. Can Large Language Models be used as a ghost-writer for our scientific paper? Should we embrace the use of these systems or constrain it? We take a brief snapshot of the impact of AI on scientific writing at this uncertain stage, trying to reflect on the changes headed our way.