Scientific Calendar Event

Starts 17 May 2005 08:00
Ends 17 May 2005 17:00
Central European Time
Main Building Main Lecture Hall
Strada Costiera, 11 I - 34151 Trieste (Italy)
The 2004 ICTP Prize in honour of Arthur Taylor Winfree is awarded to Bernardo Gabriel Mindlin of the Department of Physics, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Gabriel Mindlin is a theorist who has made important contrubutions to the fundamental, applied and interdisciplinary aspects of nonlinear dynamical systems. In his publications - over fifty well-cited papers appearing in major journals, as well as in books - he has made original contributions to fields as diverse as solar activity, lasers, neuronal modeling, speech recognition and bird songs. His early work - a characterization of strange attractors in terms of their topology as opposed to delicate metric properties like dimensions and entropies - had a significant impact. Later, as an independent researcher first in Spain and then in Argentina, he studied the effect of broken symmetries in pattern formation. In recent years, he has shifted his attention to the dynamics of the vocal apparatus. He began with a study of vowels in human speech and then moved on to the investigation of the "syrinx" (the song-making organ) of birds, which is much better accessible experimentally. Mindlin's work has always had strong contacts with experiment. He is currently involved in an international collaboration on avian physiology. Mindlin is leading figure in his group, actively striving - and managing - to achieve international standards. He is an original, self-motivated and imaginative researcher who seeks out important problems in interdisciplinary areas. He provides a very good example for young scientists starting a career in developing countries. Abstract In recent years birdsong has developed into an extremely interesting problem for researchers in several branches of the scientific community. The reason is that of the approximately 10,000 species of birds known to exist, some 4000 share with humans (and just a few other species in the animal kingdom) a remarkable feature: their acquisition of vocalization requires a certain degree of exposure to a tutor. Between the complex neural architecture involved in the process and the song itself, stands a delicate apparatus that the bird must control with incredible precision. This talk deals with the physical mechanisms at work in the production of birdsong, the acoustic effects that the avian vocal organ is capable of generating, and the nature of the neural instructions needed to drive it.