Physics of perception

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Stages L3
Stages M1 ICFP
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Actualités : Séminaire de Recherche ICFP
du 6 au 10 novembre 2017 :

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Contact - Secrétariat de l’enseignement :
Tél : 01 44 32 35 61
enseignement@phys.ens.fr

Faculty : Thierry Mora, Pascal Martin

Tutor  :

ECTS credits : 3

Language of instruction :

Description :

Sensory systems strike us by their exquisite sensitivity, which is often close to the limit set by physics. Our eyes are sensitive to single photons. Likewise, our ears can detect sound-evoked vibrations that can be smaller than the thermal motion of the ear’s inner structures. In addition, our senses also show sharp selectivity. We can indeed visualize the position of objects with a higher precision than the distance between retinal photoreceptors, and tell the difference between sounds that differ only by 0.02% in frequency. Finally, the dynamical range of perception can be enormous, spanning up to 12 orders of magnitude of sound intensities in the case of hearing. These characteristics impose stringent physical constraints on transduction, filtering, noise rejection, and amplification of the input by receptor sensory cells of the body.

In this course, we will focus on the particular examples of vision and hearing to explore the physical mechanisms underlying the extraordinary performances of our senses. We will explore the various scales and stages of processing of sensory stimuli, from the cochlea and its cellular microphones in hearing, and from photo-receptors in vision, to basic neural processing. We will see that familiar concepts from non-linear dynamics and statistical mechanics (Hopf bifurcations, resonance, critical transitions,…) can shed light on the mechanisms of active amplification, compression, and efficient representation of sensory signals. In return, we will identify general physical principles of sensory detection.

Accès rapides

Prochain Séminaire de la FIP :
Accéder au programme

Retrouvez toutes les informations pour vos stages :
Stages L3
Stages M1 ICFP
Stages M2 ICFP

Actualités : Séminaire de Recherche ICFP
du 6 au 10 novembre 2017 :

Retrouvez le programme complet

Emploi du temps 2017-2018 :
Emploi du temps L3
Emploi du temps M1 ICFP
Emploi du temps M2 ICFP

Contact - Secrétariat de l’enseignement :
Tél : 01 44 32 35 61
enseignement@phys.ens.fr