Princeton Physics Professor William Bialek to Speak at Williams College Feb. 28

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., February 17, 2017—William Bialek, professor of physics at Princeton University, will deliver a lecture at Williams College titled “More Perfect Than We Imagined: A Physicist’s View of Life” that will “give a tour of …beautiful phenomenon, from microscopic events inside a developing embryo to our own perception and decision making.” His lecture, sponsored by the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program and the Williams College Department of Physics, will be held at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 28, in Wege Auditorium, Thompson Chemistry Building.

Bialek is the John Archibald Wheeler/Battelle Professor in Physics at Princeton University. He is also a member of the multidisciplinary Lewis-Sigler Institute, and is in the process of launching the Initiative for the Theoretical Sciences at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York where he is the Visiting Presidential Professor of Physics. In 1990, he joined the NEC Research Institute in Princeton, later becoming a fellow. In 2001, Bialek joined the Princeton faculty as professor of physics.

Bialek’s research interests have ranged from a wide variety of theoretical problems at the interface of physics and biology, from the dynamics of individual biological molecules to learning and cognition. He is best known for contributions to understanding of coding and computation in the brain, in which he has shown that aspects of brain function are essentially optimal strategies for adapting to the complex dynamics of the world, making the most of available signals in the face of fundamental physical limitations. Throughout his career, Bialek has been involved in helping to establish biophysics as a sub-discipline within physics and in helping biology to absorb the quantitative intellectual tradition of the physical sciences. Bialek holds an A.B. and a Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of California at Berkeley.

Phi Beta Kappa Society has been offering the Visiting Scholar Program since 1956, in which undergraduates “have the opportunity to spend time with some of America’s most distinguished scholars.” Founded in 1776, the Phi Beta Kappa Society is one of the nation’s most prestigious academic honor societies. It has chapters in 286 colleges and universities and more than half a million members throughout the country.


For building locations on the Williams campus, please consult the map outside the driveway entrance to the Security Office located in Hopkins Hall on Main Street (Rte. 2), next to the Thompson Memorial Chapel, or call the Office of Communications (413) 597-4277. The map can also be found on the web at