3rd Annual Edward Delaval Lecture in Physics

Nature’s engines:
Powering life

a public lecture by

Professor Julia M Yeomans FRS

University of Oxford

Wednesday 20 March 2019

6 pm – 7:20 pm

Newton Lecture Theatre INB0114 in the Isaac Newton building, University of Lincoln

Book a place

Active systems, from cells and bacteria to flocks of birds, harvest chemical energy which they use to move and to control the complex processes needed for life. A goal of biophysicists is to construct new physical theories to understand these living systems, which operate far from equilibrium. Among the many questions are: How do cells make and use complex nanoscale motors? Why do birds, bacteria and cells self-organise into similar patterns? And, surprisingly, how might topological defects be relevant in a biological context?


Julia Mary Yeomans FRS is a British theoretical physicist. She was educated at Somerville College, Oxford, for her BA and at Wolfson College, Oxford, where she was awarded a DPhil degree in Theoretical Physics in 1979. After two years of working as a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University, she was appointed a lecturer at the Department of Physics at the University of Southampton in 1981. In 1983, she moved to the University of Oxford where she became a professor in 2002. Julia Yeomans is a professor at the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics. Her research concentrates in theoretical modelling of processes in  soft condensed matter and biological physics including liquid crystals, drops on hydrophobic surfaces, microchannels, as well as bacteria. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2013.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. A really wonderful lecture, crammed full of astonishing microscopic reality, beautifully presented. Many thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jean Matson says:

    A very well-planned lecture to ensure the layman or woman could understand the concepts in a totally new area of research. The rapport with the audience was amazing, the animated displays ground-breaking & getting the opportunity to listen to such an eminent theoretical physicist as Julia Yeomans was humbling & magnificent.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Luc Bidaut says:

    Excellent and enlightening as always. These lectures open one’s mind to the remarkable diversity of research and potential applications thereof, and the span of follow-up queries and comments – from thoughtful to entertaining (in a good way) – further demonstrates the quality of the delivery and attendance. Do keep’em coming!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Andy Ellison says:

    An interesting talk by a very good speaker. Anyone who can get this Physicist interested in biology must be good!

    Liked by 1 person

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