evolgen

The One Sentence Challenge

Via the error prone cosmologists I learned about this challenge:

Physicist Richard Feynman once said that if all knowledge about physics was about to expire the one sentence he would tell the future is that “Everything is made of atoms”. What one sentence would you tell the future about your own area, whether it’s entrepreneurship, hedge funds, venture capital, or something else?

We evolutionary biology bloggers are a bit ahead of the game on this one, presenting our definition of evolution in 10 words or less:

Differential inheritance of genetic variation via stochastic and deterministic forces.

Given that this new challenge has no word limit — only a limit of a single sentence — I can add some more depth to my description of the field, exploring a style resembling that of Faulkner. So, here it goes:

The diversity of life on earth changes over time — both short term and long term — due to the differential inheritance of genetic variation within populations via stochastic processes (genetic mutation, random differences in mating success, random differences in survival, etc), greater reproduction of individuals with genotypes that allow for greater reproduction rates (natural selection), and greater reproduction of individuals with genotypes that make them more attractive to mating partners (sexual selection).

How would you describe your area of research in a single sentence?

Comments

  1. #1 eri
    December 22, 2006

    Massive stellar explosions in the beginning of the universe release gamma radiation and cause optical shock waves that light up everything between them and us for a few hours, containing information about the chemical composition of the early universe (if you can convince someone to loan you a big telescope and spectroscope for an hour).

  2. #2 PhysioProf
    December 22, 2006

    The biophysical properties of ion channels in the plasma membrane of a nerve cell, in conjunction with their spatial distribution, the geometry of the cell, and some other stuff, determine the cell’s input-output transfer function.

  3. #3 coturnix
    December 22, 2006

    Who needs 10 words?

    “If it ain’t cycling, it ain’t alive.”

  4. #4 Matt
    December 22, 2006

    Broadly Speaking
    Behavioral Ecology: The study of the ecological interactions and evolutionary forces shape animal behavior.

    My specific research: A study that looks to explain how sexually transmitted diseases and genetic variability, especially at the MHC locus affect the evolution of mate choice and mating systems.

  5. #5 Wes
    December 24, 2006

    I gotta be a grammar nazi for a second…

    Differential inheritance of genetic variation via stochastic and deterministic forces.

    That’s not a sentence. ;)

    How about this:

    Biodiversity arises through differential inheritance of genetic variation via stochastic and deterministic forces.

  6. #6 RPM
    December 24, 2006

    The first one was from a different challenge — evolution in 10 words or less. There was no grammar requirement.

  7. #7 Caledonian
    December 28, 2006

    Mind arises from the behavior of matter.

  8. #8 Tom
    December 29, 2006

    “The current funding environment is extremely difficult.”

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