Los Alamos Faith And Science Forum: How Life Works

Physicist Nelson Hoffman presents a lecture during the 2017 Los Alamos Faith and Science Forum Summer Series. Courtesy photo


The theme of the 2018 Los Alamos Faith and Science Forum Summer Series is “Purposeful Evolution” and Nelson Hoffman is presenting a lecture Wednesday, June 13 on “How Life Works”.

To discuss recent ideas in evolutionary biology, we need to know a bit about how life works. This lecture will be an introduction to biology for people who don’t usually think about it. Hoffman will talk about the cell, metabolism, genetics, and reproduction. He’ll discuss amino acids, proteins, enzymes, and how proteins are made, and he’ll touch on the genetic code, genes, chromosomes, and two ways that cells reproduce.

By the end of the lecture, you’ll know the difference between your phenotype and your genotype, and why they matter. And you’ll be ready to tackle concepts like epigenetics, horizontal gene transfer, genome reorganization, and plasticity, when they come up later this summer. A list of useful definitions will be handed out, for future reference.

The main goal in this summer’s Los Alamos Faith and Science Forum lectures is to bring our community up to date on the latest views about evolution. The meetings will follow our usual format: light supper at 6 p.m., talk at 6:30 p.m., followed by questions for the speaker and then table discussions. These talks will be in the Fellowship Hall of the Unitarian Church at 1738 N Sage Loop in Los Alamos.

Hoffman is a physicist working at Los Alamos National Laboratory, in the computational plasma physics group. He specializes in computer simulations of laser fusion capsules and analysis of data, for experiments conducted at the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the OMEGA laser at the University of Rochester. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in physics from Rice University and his PhD in astrophysics from the University of Wisconsin. He is a member of First United Methodist Church of Los Alamos.

The Los Alamos Faith and Science Forum (LAF&SF) is an incorporated 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization seeking to understand faith and science and how they fit together.  To learn more, visit www.lafsf.org.


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