Statistical and Biological Physics

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International Workshop on Statistical Mechanics & Information in Evolution

A Crossroad of Empirical and Theoretical Foundations

July 4 - 6, 2016

Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, Germany

Parmenides Foundation

Aim of the Workshop

To bring together the different existing analogies between evolutionary biology and statistical mechanics, as well as with information theory.


In genetics and evolution we employ an information jargon: genetic code, translation, error, and in some verbal theories, such as in the Major Evolutionary Transitions, change in the mode of transmission of hereditary information is regarded as one of the central aspects leading to such key evolutionary steps. However, there is little –if anything at all– in this jargon that links as such to formal notions of information. By understanding if/when some metaphors can be casted as precise analogies, we can gain further advance in open questions of evolutionary biology. Population genetics has greatly benefited from the application of methods from physics’ statistical mechanics. Although with much less strength and less attention, the same is true for information theory. Since evolutionary biology has gained so much from these fields, we consider that a workshop that exposes in detail the bridge between these disciplines is timely.


  • Establishing what is the relationship between the existing approaches of Statistical Mechanics, Information Theory and Evolutionary Biology.
  • Review empirical works and applications that employ Statistical Mechanics and Information Theory: inference of evolutionary processes and of genotype-phenotype maps.
  • Framing evolution as process of information geometry.
  • Formalising the notion of information usage and transmission during the Major Transitions.

Target audience

Researchers interested on the interface between evolutionary biology, statistical mechanics, information theory, or alike.


Dr. Harold P. de Vladar, Parmenides Foundation

Prof. Dr. Erwin Frey, Ludwig Maximilians University


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