Miller-Breit Lecture 2006

October 24, 2006

The Yale Physics Miller-Breit Lecture was given on October 27, 2006 by Professor Steven Block of Stanford University.

Friday, October 27, 2006 - Breaking the Nanometer Barrier: Recent Progress in Biological Nanoscience

Work in the Block lab is in the new area of “single molecule biophysics.” Block and coworkers have recently developed a new generation of apparatus employing laser-based optical traps that can exert carefully controlled, piconewton-scale forces on individual macromolecules while measuring their displacements with unprecedented accuracy – right down to the atomic level. Using the apparatus, they’ve been able to measure, for example, single base-pair steps taken by RNA polymerase during gene transcription, folding and unfolding transitions of secondary structure in nucleic acids, and the nanomechanics of motion driven by kinesin motors walking on microtubules. This talk will highlight recent progress in the field.

The Miller-Breit Memorial Lecture was established in honor of John Milton Miller (B.A. 1904, M.A. 1907, Ph.D. 1915) and Gregory Breit (Yale faculty 1947-1968) in order to bring a distinguished lecturer in physics to Yale each year. The Miller lectures ran 1966-1992 and the Breit lectures started in 1982 and included the Gregory Breit Centennial Symposium in 1999. The two funds were combined in 1986.

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