NBIA Colloquium via Zoom by Paul Chaikin, New York University

Artificial Life, Self-replication, Exponential growth, Directed evolution, Colloidal Architecture, DNA Activated Colloidal Machines

Speaker: Paul Chaikin (New York University)

Abstract: Self-replication and evolution under selective pressure are inherent phenomena in life, but few artificial systems exhibit these phenomena. We have designed a process and a system of DNA origami tiles that exponentially replicate a seed pattern, doubling (or more) the copies in each diurnal-like cycle of temperature and UV illumination, producing more than 7 million copies in 24 cycles.  We demonstrate environmental selection in growing populations by incorporating pH sensitive binding in two sub-populations. We also use DNA origami to self-assemble complex arrangements of colloids and emulsion droplets with highly specific geometry showing control over valence, position, dihedral angles, chirality and to make DNA micro-machines.


Short bio: Paul Chaikin earned his B.S. in physics from California Institute of Technology in 1966, and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1971 working with Kondo superconductors. He joined the physics faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1972 and studied thermopower, density waves, and high field phenomena mostly in organic superconductors. Hard and soft matter interests continued after joining the faculty at UPenn (1983), the staff at Exxon Research (1983) and the faculty at Princeton University (1988).

His interests in geometry/topology led to his founding contributions to diblock copolymer nanolithography, and studies of defects, annealing, and pattern formation. In 2005 he helped found the Center for Soft Matter Research at New York University. Among his major awards are a Sloan Fellowship (1979-81), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1997), and election to both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2003) and the National Academy of Sciences (2004)

He is currently a Silver professor of physics at New York University. 

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The colloquium will be introduced and moderated by Amin Doostmohammadi and we strongly encourage you to participate actively by asking questions during the talk. Amin will briefly remind you how this can be done just before the colloquium starts.