Speaker: Ken A. Dill, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry & Physics
Stony Brook University
Title: Darwinian evolution as a principled physical process. What drives it? Where did it come from?
We look at biology’s evolutionary driving force — Survival of the fittest (SOF) — through the lens of physical principle and its possible origins in physical chemistry. SOF is unlike any other dynamics in physics or chemistry. It is not a tendency toward equilibrium, not governed by the Second Law, not limited to steady states, and not simply about self-replication. Biological evolution is self-sustaining, self-serving, innovative and resourceful, and for 3.5 billion years has moved ever further away from equilibrium. What is this principle and where did it come from? Darwinian Evolution is, in part, process of maker molecules making other makers; in part a statmech-like sampling over sequenced-polymers; and in part a Feynman ratchet for upstepping in fitness.