Populations, Evolution, and Physics

Jan. 3 - 8, 2016

The Aspen Center for Physics


What are the general principles that govern biological evolution? Is evolution predictable in any sense? Can a theoretical framework be developed for systems whose basic rules and constraints change over time? These are some of the fundamental questions that motivate physicists working on biological evolution.

Physicists are uniquely positioned to make a lasting impact on the understanding of evolution, however this will require a concerted effort in the community. On the one hand, the theoretical tools that were successful in other physical systems that involve collective dynamics need to be fundamentally reformulated to address the unique aspects of evolution. On the other hand, since the basic theoretical structures are still extremely new and evolving, experimental tests of theoretical predictions demand very close working relationships between theorists and experimentalists. The main goal of the conference is to enhance these relationships while driving the field towards a new, unifying theory that describes evolving systems.



Sebastian Bonhoeffer (ETH Zurich)

Penny Chisholm (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Michael Desai (Harvard University)

Rachel Dutton (Harvard University)

Daniel Fisher (Stanford University)

Elodie Ghedin (New York Univesrity)

Benjamin Greenbaum (Mount Sinai School of Medicine)

Katia Koelle (Duke University)

Kirill Korolev (Boston University)

Guillaume Lambert (Wyss Institute)

Marta Luksza (Institute for Advanced Study)

Sergei Maslov (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

David Nelson (Harvard University)

Erik van Nimwegen (University of Basel)

Eugene Shakhnovich (Harvard University)

Kalin Vetsigian (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Aleksandra Walczak (École Normale Supérieure)

Daniel Weissman (Emory University)

Scientific Advisors

Nigel Goldenfeld (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Stanislas Leibler (The Rockefeller University & Institute for Advanced Study)


Jeff Gore (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Oskar Hallatschek (UC Berkeley)

Edo Kussell (New York University)