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CAS Dean’s Lecture : Modeling the Movement of Prehistoric People
Speaker: Dr. Deepak Mathur, Manipal University, Manipal, India
This lecture will review very recent efforts to use simple principles of physics to probe how prehistoric populations expanded through the globe. It will focus on the movement of prehistoric people in the era before settled communities and when there were no major conflicts or wars. In this essentially nomadic era – about 10,000 years before the present era - population movement must have been essentially driven by (i) geography, (ii) environment and (iii) population pressures. The lecturer will illustrate how such factors can be readily simulated, with the help of physics concepts such as diffusion and with inputs from modern satellite data. It will include examples of very recent simulation studies on the movement of prehistoric peoples in different parts of the globe and the locations at which different groups of such people merged. Such merging of people provides a tool for us to check the veracity of our simulations by enabling comparisons to be made with results of modern genetic mapping of human populations. By invoking components from physics, biology, earth and space sciences, archaeology, anthropology, population studies, geography and history, the talk will be of interest to physical and life scientists, as well as to those working in the humanities and social sciences.
Dr. Deepak Mathur is the J.C. Bose National Fellow at Manipal University, India and, until recently, Distinguished Professor at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai. He conducts research in the atomic, molecular and optical sciences, and biological physics. He is Fellow of the World Academy of Science, Indian National Science Academy, and the Indian Academy of Sciences; he has many Indian and international awards and has held visiting appointments at the universities of British Columbia, Wales, Oxford, Aarhus, Tohoku and Imperial College London. He was Co-Editor of Europhysics Letters and an editorial board member of Journal of Physics B and Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry.
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