The course provides an introduction to the physics of living systems.

Physics is an experimental science. Its progress is due to a constant exchange between theory and experiments. Experimental skills are thus a requirement.





This course will explore how living systems make use of circuits and networks to process information from neuroscience to synthetic biology.

The development of animals, starting from a single cell to produce a fully formed organism, is a fascinating process. Its study is currently advancing at a rapid pace thanks to combined experimental and theoretical progress, yet many fundamental questions remain to be answered.

This course will address the fundamental theoretical concepts underlying the self-organization of multicellular systems, from gene regulation to the mechanics of active biological materials. The course will be based on various concepts from theoretical physics: dynamical systems, soft and active matter, the mechanics of continuous media, numerical modeling, etc.

The lectures offer a statistical-physics perspective on active matter, which encompasses systems whose fundamental constituents dissipate energy to exert forces on the environment. This out-of-equilibrium microscopic drive endows active systems with properties unmatched in passive ones. From molecular motors to bacteria and animals, active agents are found at all scales in nature. Over the past twenty years, physicists and chemists have also engineered synthetic active systems in the lab, by motorizing particles whose sizes range from nanometers to centimeters, hence paving the way towards the engineering of active materials.

The lectures will rely on the modern tools of statistical mechanics, from stochastic calculus to field theoretical methods, using both theoretical models and experimental systems to illustrate the rich physics of active matter.