Marcello Buiatti and Giuseppe Longo will discuss with the research team on the New Humanities and Elena Gagliasso, chair of the session.

Mon October 15 h. 3 p.m.
Room “Ignazio Ambrogio”, Department of Comparative Literature, University Roma Tre

The idea that knowledge in biology, as well as in other sciences, has nothing to do with the cultural dimension in which those who produce it are immerged is now difficult to sustain.
In this seminar we will discuss about the modes of constant interaction between scientific categories and their non-neutrality in relation to the cultural, political, and social context.
Biology seems particularly suited for this kind of investigation due to the fact that it is often considered the ‘softness’ among the hard sciences and therefore mostly exposed to the ‘risk’ of a contamination with the ‘humanities’.
For this reason, biology is particularly suited to address the issue of the interaction, integration and, more generally, the relationship between ‘scientific’ disciplines and humanistic knowledge. The exchange between these two areas of knowledge can result in but a mutual enrichment, not necessarily pulling down the differences.
In building a love relationship, attraction is necessary, but it is also fundamental building up a common language with which it would be possible to pronounce a ’loving discourse’ capable to transform us into something new.

For this first dialogical experiment, we invited two scholars, exceptional for skills and characteristics: Buiatti Marcello and Giuseppe Longo.

Marcello Buiatti, Professor of Genetics at the University of Florence since 1981. He has always dealt with genetic and molecular analysis of the dynamic processes of life (development and maintenance) as well as their mathematical modeling. Currently in retirement, he has not stopped designing and developing his researches while teaching a course in genetics and behavior evolution, on which he is in the process to write a book.

The title of his talk will be “From bacteria to humans: evolution of behavior”, in which he will discuss about the transition from the DNA, seen as a determinant of the behaviorial evolution in bacteria, to the epigenetics (so important in plants and in animals) and the use of complex languages and cultures in the case of humans.

Powerpoint presentation of Marcello Buiatti (4,63 MB): Evoluzione dei comportamenti

Giuseppe Longo, directeur de recherche CNRS Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris) since 1990 (previously, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Pisa), As logical mathematician, he has extended his interests from the foundations of mathematics and computer science to those of biology. His research group “complexité et information morphologiques ” (CIM) is concerned with theoretical problems of interface between mathematics, physics and biology.

His talk will focus on the differences between life sciences and physical sciences related to the categories of causality and time. The role of irreversibility in the life sciences and the interaction between a multiplicity of elements in the production of effects make the above disciplines very difficult to compare with the physical sciences, whose principles are, instead, based on the repeatability and the reversibility of the analyzed phenomena.

PDF presentation of Giuseppe Longo (0,3 MB): The Inert vs. the Living State of Matter – Extended Criticality, Time Geometry, Anti-Entropy – an overview

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