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Introduction: Eldad Afik

edited April 30 in Chat

I am an experimental physicist by training, currently (since summer 2016) a postdoc at the Meyerowitz lab at Caltech.

My main interest in Applied Category Theory (ACT) stems from a search for a formal framework, that is, a mathematical formalism, which would be insightful for research in Life Sciences. The broader objective is, hopefully, to better understand What is Life (sorry for the plagiarism...), and how concepts such as function, program, control and “decision making”, emerge in Natural material systems which are "alive". Specifically, I focus on developmental biology in plants.

ACT seems promising to me as a mathematical framework to approach such questions, organize & communicate results, and formulate hypotheses. In any event, it stimulates discussions which I find fascinating; it is a great opportunity for me to improve my mathematical education and thinking. Many thanks to all those who drive the discussions -- it is a pleasure to learn from you!

Comments

  • 1.

    Hi Eldad!

    I'm down the way from you here at Caltech (Pierce lab) :) My friend Cory Tobin did his Phd in the Meyerowitz lab, possibly maybe you had a little bit of overlap with him? He's running an open bio-lab now where I'm a member. I'm also very excited also about how ACT can be used to understand and talk about systems in biology. Maybe a Caltech study group is in order at some point!

    Comment Source:Hi Eldad! I'm down the way from you here at Caltech (Pierce lab) :) My friend Cory Tobin did his Phd in the Meyerowitz lab, possibly maybe you had a little bit of overlap with him? He's running an [open bio-lab](https://www.thel4b.com/) now where I'm a member. I'm also very excited also about how ACT can be used to understand and talk about systems in biology. Maybe a Caltech study group is in order at some point!
  • 2.
    edited April 30

    Hi Grant,

    Thanks for your message. Cory left prior to my arrival, I got the honour to clean his bench ;-) If you like, you are welcome to visit.

    It would be great to have local study group! Do you know of others who may be interested?

    Here's a link to sign-up for ACT course -- Caltech Study Group

    Comment Source:Hi Grant, Thanks for your message. Cory left prior to my arrival, I got the honour to clean his bench ;-) If you like, you are welcome to visit. It would be great to have local study group! Do you know of others who may be interested? Here's a link to sign-up for [ACT course -- Caltech Study Group](https://forum.azimuthproject.org/discussion/2066/applied-category-theory-course-caltech-study-group)
  • 3.

    Awesome! Yeah I’d definitely be up for a visit.

    I know some people that should be interested, and I’ll send out some emails today and see if I can coral some of them:)

    Comment Source:Awesome! Yeah I’d definitely be up for a visit. I know some people that _should_ be interested, and I’ll send out some emails today and see if I can coral some of them:)
  • 4.

    Hi, Eldad! Good to see you here! It'd be cool if you set up an outpost at Caltech. I think David Spivak and Brendan Fong visited someone at Caltech when they came to my applied category theory special session in November last year. I forget who it was. Someone working on robotics and hybrid systems, I think. (Those are systems that combine discrete-time and continuous-time dynamics.)

    Comment Source:Hi, Eldad! Good to see you here! It'd be cool if you set up an outpost at Caltech. I think David Spivak and Brendan Fong visited someone at Caltech when they came to my [applied category theory special session](http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/ACT2017/) in November last year. I forget who it was. Someone working on robotics and hybrid systems, I think. (Those are systems that combine discrete-time and continuous-time dynamics.)
  • 5.

    Hi Eldad,

    I am an experimental physicist by training, currently (since summer 2016) a postdoc at the Meyerowitz lab at Caltech.

    I'm curious about your transitions from experimental physics to what seems to ostensibly be a Biology lab. What is it that you are doing on a day-to-day basis and how did you come by the position?

    PS: The visualizations of the lab's SAM models on the website look pretty cool!

    Comment Source:Hi Eldad, > I am an experimental physicist by training, currently (since summer 2016) a postdoc at the Meyerowitz lab at Caltech. I'm curious about your transitions from experimental physics to what seems to ostensibly be a Biology lab. What is it that you are doing on a day-to-day basis and how did you come by the position? PS: The visualizations of the lab's SAM models on the website look pretty cool!
  • 6.

    Hi Marius,

    Thanks for your interest!

    I'm curious about your transitions from experimental physics to what seems to ostensibly be a Biology lab. What is it that you are doing on a day-to-day basis and how did you come by the position?

    Disclaimer: I am not sure what is it that you'd like to know, and the following feels more like bits of a personal story, yet, I will leave it as-is for now...

    Similarly to you, I took a double major for the BSc, in my case these were Physics & Biology. There was no program for combining the two at the time, and I knew nothing about Physics (nor anything that resembled pure Math). So the first year was quite shocking and when the first semester began the thought of dropping Physics crossed my mind -- I remember it being nearly impossible to wrap my mind around approximations, Normal forces, fictitious forces, and listening to questions of fellow students who were asking bright and advanced questions I wasn't even beginning to understand. Having said that, I fell in love with formal thinking, amazed and excited by the miracle that one can actually apply it to describe (and even draw insights of) Nature. By the end of that semester I was even considering dropping Biology in favour of Math.

    Eventually I decided to follow my plan of pursuing Biology and Physics. The latter I followed for the rest of my training till I obtained my PhD. I guess the fun and interest was motivating enough (and beyond) to deal with the challenges. My main research interest lies in questions related to Life Sciences, which I hope explains my choice of lab for postdoc.

    In short, the Meyerowitz lab studies developmental biology, and does so in plants. Most of my focus is currently dedicated to spatio-temporal dynamics in Caulerpa, a giant unicellular form of green alga which, by looks, may seem multicellular.

    Not sure if I addressed your question; please let me know, and I can refine.

    ~~~

    PS: The visualizations of the lab's SAM models on the website look pretty cool!

    When I see the people involved, I will let them know :-)

    Comment Source:Hi Marius, Thanks for your interest! > I'm curious about your transitions from experimental physics to what seems to ostensibly be a Biology lab. What is it that you are doing on a day-to-day basis and how did you come by the position? _Disclaimer: I am not sure what is it that you'd like to know, and the following feels more like bits of a personal story, yet, I will leave it as-is for now..._ Similarly to [you](https://forum.azimuthproject.org/profile/2359/Marius%20Furter), I took a double major for the BSc, in my case these were Physics & Biology. There was no program for combining the two at the time, and I knew nothing about Physics (nor anything that resembled pure Math). So the first year was quite shocking and when the first semester began the thought of dropping Physics crossed my mind -- I remember it being nearly impossible to wrap my mind around approximations, Normal forces, fictitious forces, and listening to questions of fellow students who were asking bright and advanced questions I wasn't even beginning to understand. Having said that, I fell in love with formal thinking, amazed and excited by the miracle that one can actually apply it to describe (and even draw insights of) Nature. By the end of that semester I was even considering dropping Biology in favour of Math. Eventually I decided to follow my plan of pursuing Biology _and_ Physics. The latter I followed for the rest of my training till I obtained my PhD. I guess the fun and interest was motivating enough (and beyond) to deal with the challenges. My main research interest lies in questions related to Life Sciences, which I hope explains my choice of lab for postdoc. In short, the [Meyerowitz lab](http://plantlab.caltech.edu/) studies [developmental biology](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Developmental_biology), and does so in plants. Most of my focus is currently dedicated to spatio-temporal dynamics in [Caulerpa](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caulerpa), a giant unicellular form of green alga which, by looks, [may seem multicellular](https://www.google.com/search?q=caulerpa&client=ubuntu&hs=kve&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj-iKXk7_faAhWQjVkKHa-ECk8Q_AUICigB&biw=1506&bih=755). Not sure if I addressed your question; please let me know, and I can refine. ~~~ > PS: The visualizations of the lab's SAM models on the website look pretty cool! When I see the people involved, I will let them know :-)
  • 7.
    edited May 29

    @John Baez

    Good to see you here!

    It is good to be here; many thanks to you, Fong and Spivak, and everyone else who make this learning opportunity happen.

    It'd be cool if you set up an outpost at Caltech. I think David Spivak and Brendan Fong visited someone at Caltech...

    Grant and I would love to have others joining us. If you know of anyone who may be interested around Caltech, please invite them to drop us a line.

    Comment Source:@[John Baez](https://forum.azimuthproject.org/profile/17/John%20Baez) > Good to see you here! It is good to be here; many thanks to you, Fong and Spivak, and everyone else who make this learning opportunity happen. > It'd be cool if you set up an outpost at Caltech. I think David Spivak and Brendan Fong visited someone at Caltech... Grant and I would love to have others joining us. If you know of anyone who may be interested around Caltech, please invite them to [drop us a line](https://forum.azimuthproject.org/discussion/2066/applied-category-theory-course-caltech-study-group#latest).
  • 8.

    Hey Eldad,

    Thanks for the insight! Your response addressed my question nicely. Since I will have to decide on where to pursue my PhD within the next year I'm very curious about the current landscape of the more theoretical side of biological research and who is working there. So gathering some personal stories is very helpful.

    Comment Source:Hey Eldad, Thanks for the insight! Your response addressed my question nicely. Since I will have to decide on where to pursue my PhD within the next year I'm very curious about the current landscape of the more theoretical side of biological research and who is working there. So gathering some personal stories is very helpful.
  • 9.
    edited May 29

    @Marius Furter,

    I'm very curious about the current landscape of the more theoretical side of biological research

    If you can be more specific about your interests, I could try some name dropping.

    Comment Source:@[Marius Furter](https://forum.azimuthproject.org/profile/2359/Marius%20Furter), > I'm very curious about the current landscape of the more theoretical side of biological research If you can be more specific about your interests, I could try some name dropping.
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