Imperial College, Queen's Gate, South Kensington
London, England SW7 2AZ

Professor Lord May of Oxford OM AC Kt FRS, University of Oxford presents the Third Peter Lindsay Memorial Lecture on: "Financial, Ecological and Disease-Transmitting Networks and their Dynamics."

Abstract: The transmission of infection among humans or other animals, the spread of viruses or worms among computers, transfers of funds within financial markets, and the way ecosystems respond to disturbance are four among many examples of nonlinear dynamical systems whose behaviour depends upon the nature of the network of connections among nodes (that is individuals, computers, banks/traders, species, respectively). Recent concern about HIV/AIDS, SARS, and foot and mouth disease among livestock have prompted advances in our understanding of the interplay between network patterns and effective control measures. Separate, but ultimately related, work deals with older questions about ecosystem resilience, and newer questions about the overall stability of financial markets (as distinct from individual funds). My talk aims to be a brief but opinionated overview of all this.

Biography: Robert McCredie May, Lord May of Oxford, OM AC Kt FRS, holds a Professorship jointly at Oxford University and Imperial College, London and is a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford. He was until recently President of The Royal Society (2000-2005), and before that Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government and Head of the UK Office of Science and Technology (1995-2000). His career includes a Personal Chair in Physics at Sydney University aged 33, Class of 1877 Professor of Zoology and Chairman of the Research Board at Princeton, and in 1988 a move to Britain as Royal Society Research Professor. Particular interests include how populations are structured and respond to change, particularly with respect to infectious diseases and biodiversity. He was awarded a Knighthood in 1996, and appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1998, both for “Services to Science”. In 2001 he was one of the first 15 Life Peers created by the “House of Lords Appointments Commission”. In 2002, The Queen appointed him to the Order of Merit (the fifth Australian in its 100-year history). Honours include: the Royal Swedish Academy’s Crafoord Prize (bioscience and ecology’s equivalent of a Nobel Prize); the Swiss-Italian Balzan Prize (for “seminal contributions to [understanding] biodiversity”); and the Japanese Blue Planet Prize (“for developing fundamental tools for ecological conservation planning”). He is a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Sciences, an Overseas Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences, and an Honorary Fellow of various other Academies and Learned Societies. In 2007 he received the Royal Society’s Copley Medal, its oldest (1731) and most prestigious award, given annually for “outstanding achievements in research in any branch of science”.

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Added by balabanovic on January 6, 2010