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Chaos and rabies at this year’s Celsius–Linné Lectures

7 February 2017

Can we predict the future with mathematics? How can the rabies virus give us answers on the physical and psychological effects of stress? At this year’s Celsius–Linné Lectures on 9 February, Professor John Guckenheimer and Professor Peter L. Strick will present their pioneering contributions to research in universal phenomena and neurological systems.

In February every year, the Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology at Uppsala University arranges two lectures in memory of Anders Celsius and Carl von Linné. The chosen lecturers are researchers whose world-leading and highly topical research has been widely acclaimed in the research world and is of major general interest.

This year’s lectures are being held at The Svedberg Hall at the Biomedical Centre (BMC) in Uppsala on 9 February. The lecturers are mathematician Professor John Guckenheimer from Cornell University, USA, and neurobiologist Professor Peter L. Strick from the University of Pittsburgh, USA. On Friday 10 February, a multidisciplinary Celsius–Linné Symposium will be held with the theme “Behaviour and pattern – complexity made simple”, also at BMC.

The lectures on Thursday 9 February will be filmed and can be viewed later through the university’s video portal.

John Guckenheimer is a world-leading researcher in dynamic systems, sometimes also known as chaos theory. It is a major area of mathematical research with a history of nearly 100 years and describes how everything from microbiological systems to galactic systems develop over time. Even if chaos theory leads to thoughts of total disorder, researchers like Guckenheimer have shown that a chaotic movement nonetheless follows certain rules and patterns. So where does the line go for calculating events and predicting the future? And how can the same mathematical methods be applied to widely different systems? These are just a few of the questions in focus in Guckenheimer’s lecture. 

Peter L. Strick is a researcher in neurology who has been able to use the rabies virus to trace the nerve pathways that tie together the cerebral cortex with the adrenal glands that produce adrenaline. This enabled him to show the existence of a direct mind–body circuit. His discovery of the mechanical relationship between our perceptions of reality and our physical reactions also sheds light on psychosomatic phenomena. Mapping how, for example, stress and depression are related in purely neurological terms also increases the chances of being able to treat a number of psychological diagnoses and physical diseases.

On Friday 10 February, a multidisciplinary Celsius–Linné Symposium will be held from 9:30 to 15:00, also in The Svedberg Hall at BMC. Besides the Celsius–Linné lecturers, researchers from Uppsala University will also present various perspectives on the theme “Behaviour and pattern – complexity made simple”. At the end, there will be a closing discussion with an opportunity for the audience to ask the lecturers questions.


Time and place for the events

Both the lectures and symposium will be held in The Svedberg Hall, Biomedical Centre (BMC), Husarvägen 3, Uppsala University. On 9 February, John Guckenheimer will speak at 14:00 and Peter L. Strick at 15:30.
The symposium on 10 February will be held from 9:30 to 15:00.

The media and public are welcome to attend both the lectures and symposium – no booking is required. All programme points will be held in English.

Find out more about the lectures and download the programme.

For more information, please contact Professor Hemin Koyi of the Department of Earth Sciences, Chair of the Celsius–Linné Committee, tel.: +46 18 471 2563, email:

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