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Aspen Public Radio is proud to present select lectures, discussions, and conversations from area events and festivals, thanks to a remarkable collection of community partners. Click here to view the full archive. Events are recorded at no cost to the partner and archived here online; select recordings are broadcast on Aspen Public Radio Sunday nights at 7 p.m.

Aspen Center for Physics: Vincenzo Vitelli

This event was recorded on July 6, 2022 at Aspen Center for Physics during the 2022 Heinz R. Pagels Physics Talks, in partnership with Aspen Public Radio.

In this talk, Vincenzo Vitelli gives an introduction to recent theoretical concepts and approaches based on artificial intelligence that have emerged at the interface between matter, life and machines.

Playful demonstrations with robotic matter, combined with data-driven illustrations of how machine learning, helps Vitelli explain biological problems ranging from cellular force generation to embryogenesis.

Matter has traditionally been modeled using symmetries and conservation laws such as the fact that energy is conserved in a closed system.

These tools, however, are not enough to fully grasp the dynamics of adaptive systems such as groups of animals, multicellular organisms or collections of robots.

These adaptive systems constantly interact with their environment and develop their shape and properties in what was thought to be an unpredictable fashion.

Vincenzo Vitelli has been a professor in the Physics Department and the James Franck Institute at the University of Chicago since 2017.

Previously, he was a professor at the Institute Lorentz for theoretical physics in Leiden University, where he held the Chair of Condensed Matter Theory since 2015.

Vitelli obtained a bachelor of science degree in theoretical physics from Imperial College London in 2000 and a doctorate in physics from Harvard University in 2006 working under the supervision of David Nelson.

He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania from 2006 to 2009.

He was awarded the H. Callan Prize in 2007, received a Feinberg Foundation Fellowship (Weizmann Institute) in 2009, and was an invited professor at ESPCI (Juliot Curie Chair) and Ecole Normale in Paris in 2013 and 2015, respectively.

In 2018, he became a fellow of the American Physical Society.