# Lectures 2012 - Day 1

## The Cell, or Molecular Lego

### by Mark Lukin

Cells are very complex. How do they build themselves and how do they maintain their complexity? Of course, there is no single supercomputer controlling all aspects of their life. Instead, cells are designed in the same way as Lego: complex structures and shapes are built from simple blocks. We will discuss their functions and the interactions responsible for most basic biological processes in the cell.

## Alchemy: Magic or Medieval Science?

### by Mark Lukin

During the lecture, we will discuss the origin of alchemy, its basic concepts, and the role it played in laying the foundations of modern chemistry. A comparative analysis of alchemical and chemical methodology will be made.

## Inflation and the Structure of the Universe

### by Michael Bershadsky

I will describe the theory of an inflating universe. Starting from the big bang we will proceed and review various stages in the evolution of the universe. Fundamental questions such as where particles are coming from, how galaxies are formed, and why there is dark matter, will be discussed.

## Fractals

### by Alexander Kirillov

What do trees, seashores, and snowflakes have in common? If you look at each of them and start zooming in, you will see a picture that is roughly similar at all zoom levels. Every small part of a snowflake is as complicated as the whole snowflake. Structures like this are called fractals, and they came to attention of mathematicians only relatively recently. In this lecture, I will discuss fractals in nature and in mathematics, tell you how one computes the length of the seashore of England, and of course, show some beautiful pictures!

**Some materials**:

- Interactive demonstrations on Wolfram Demonstrations website (requires free plugin): Cantor set, Sierpinski Sieve, Koch snowflake and other curves, Dragon Curve and its relative, the twin dragon
- Cross-section of the Sierpinski cube
- an art gallery of fractals
- XaoS - the software program you can use to view Mandelbrot and Julia sets on your own computer
- Video: zooming in on Mandelbrot set