Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Noble lecture is on Sat + congrats to Nowak (and the Standard Model).

Denis Noble's Presidential Lecture at the International Union of Physiological Societies on Saturday will be a cracker. Entitled Physiology moves back onto centre stage: a new synthesis with evolutionary biology it will be given just after Paul Nurse opens the conference.

It will be interesting to see how widely this is reported, but it should go down in history as the death-knell of the simplistic Selfish Gene nonsense. Interestingly the now famous Huxley - Wiberforce debate was hardly reported at the time, rather like the outcome of the Williams v Dawkins debate which was massively hyped in the press until Dawkins was trounced, and then the story went very quiet (and was removed from Wikipedia by the Dawkins Defenders).

I'm also delighted to see that Martin Nowak's co-authored paper on cancer treatment has got a News and Views article in Nature. It's harder to get a non-Nature paper to have a News & Views than it is to get a paper in Nature with a News & Views commentary so it's a major coup. It shows how mathematical evolution should really be done.

There is also an interesting N&V about a tough test of the Standard Model involving decays of Bs0 mesons. According to the SM the product of the CP asymmetry with the decay rate should be equal (to a good approximation) between the Bs0 decay and the B0 decay, and the paper finds that the difference is "- 0.02 + 0.05 + 0.04" which is 0 FAPP. Of course this does leave the puzzle of why we have so much more matter than anti-matter in the universe, but it leaves the Standard Model still standing.

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