As part of its 800th anniversary celebrations, the University of Padua hosts the Nobel Lecture of Sir Paul Nurse. Nurse shares the 2001 Nobel Prize Laureate in Medicine with Leland H. Hartwell and Tim Hunt for their discoveries of key regulators of the cell cycle.
Cristina Basso, Unipd pro-rector for International relations, opens the event.
Nurse identified, cloned and characterized with genetic and molecular methods, one of the key regulators of the cell cycle, CDK (cyclin-dependent kinase). He showed that the function of CDK was highly conserved during evolution. CDK drives the cell through the cell cycle by chemical modification (phosphorylation) of other proteins.
Nurse presents his lecture in English, What is life? at the University of Padua on Thursday, November 24th.
Sir Paul Nurse attempts to answer the question What is life? by discussing five great ideas that underpin biology—the Cell, the Gene, Evolution by Natural Selection, Life as Chemistry, and Life as Information. Nurse considers these concepts as a means to direct a path towards defining life.
The scientist identifies three principles to guide us: Life is able to evolve through natural selection; Life forms are bounded, physical entities; Life forms are chemical, physical and informational machines.
According to Nurse, as the fundamental unit of life, cells are physical and chemical machines that hold an information system with its own logic. The cell structure (like DNA) is a linear sequence of information stored digitally and the shape of proteins is information. Molecules touch, combine and send signals to run. The cell is a self-regulating system that processes inputs and outputs and uses the information to make decisions.
Living organisms act as a whole, an integrated system, and produce targeted behaviours as if driven by the need to grow, reproduce, and evolve. Life in its entirety is a web of information.
The event is open to the public. Registration is required to participate.