ASET Colloquium

Growth, Form, Function

by Prof. VijayRaghavan K (Secretary, DBT, Government of India)

Friday, September 15, 2017 from to (Asia/Kolkata)
at AG-66
This is the centenary year of the publication of d’Arcy Thompson’s ‘On Growth and Form’. In an age where metrics and ratings are seen to drive what science we do, d’Arcy Thompson’s approach is both  iconoclastic and relevant.

We marvel at the range of sizes and the shapes of life around us from the microscopic to the mammoth. Developmental biologists have addressed questions about how such size and shape (growth and form) come about. As Sydney Brenner has pointed out ,the answer  to this question,  about how it is made (Developmental Biology),  comes from simultaneously asking two other questions. Where does an organism come from (Evolution) and how  does it work (Physiology). Forces and mechanics allow and restrict form and function, demanding of evolution an adherence to the laws of physics. Evolution, thus allows a canalised exploration of opportunity in this space, limited of course by what biological processes and chemistry allow. D’Arcy Thompson’s tome is an extraordinary exploration of the geometries of life, demanding that  biologists who study evolution and development move beyond Panglossian, just-so, solutions. Today’s biologists, including those who study the ‘physics of  living matter’, are making breakthroughs that link the beauty of growth, form and function with the deciphering of its underpinnings in physics and biology. 

After a brief historical overview, I will try and link the development of growth, form and function using examples of work from our laboratory, focusing on how the engineering of the ability to fly takes place. 
Organised by Dr. Satyanarayana Bheesette
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