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Patterning Nature: Molecules, Organisms, Populations,

and Galaxies

Patterns can be found nearly everywhere in nature, from the microscopic world of chemical

structures to the macroscopic distribution of populations on this planet, and beyond. We will

discuss the physical basis of how these patterns emerge, and how they are analyzed in dif-

ferent scientific disciplines.

Our primary focus will be on the mesoscopic scale of patterns that are formed in multicellular

organisms: How does a single cell develop into a structured embryo? How is the symmetry

of an ensemble of cells broken to generate the adult body plan? How are fingers made, and

how do repetitive structures such as vertebrae or insect body segments develop? How do

zebras get their stripes and leopards their spots? In interactive sessions, we will discuss cur-

rent theories of pattern formation and the experimental evidence supporting these theories.

We will compare and contrast these concepts from developmental biology with other mi-

cro- and macroscopic patterns that form in nature, such as those found in crystals, chemical

mixtures, bacterial assemblies, waves, dunes, societies, and galaxies.

Dr. Patrick Müller

Systems Biology of Development Group, Friedrich Miescher Laboratory of the Max

Planck Society, Tübingen

Dr. Ben Jordan

Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University / USA

Studierende der Biochemie, Biowissenschaften, Chemie, Physik und Mathematik


Akademie Ljubljana im Max Weber-Programm