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Phi Beta Kappa Alpha Chapter Welcomes Princeton Physicist

William Bialek photo Photo credit: Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota Phi Beta Kappa Alpha Chapter will host Professor William Bialek, the John Archibald Wheeler/Battelle Professor in Physics at Princeton University, for a free public lecture Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 4 p.m. in the Akeley-Lawrence Science Center, followed by a reception.

"We are delighted to have an award-winning scholar like Professor Bialek visit our campus," said Karen Koster, professor and associate chair of biology. "His research spans scientific disciplines and blurs their boundaries in ways that are both enlightening and engaging."

A theoretical physicist interested in the phenomena of life, Bialek is known for work emphasizing the approach of biological systems to the fundamental physical limits on their performance. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Physical Society, and recipient of the 2013 Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience of the Society for Neuroscience.

"I hope that students and others who attend his lecture and meet with him appreciate how his interdisciplinary perspective helps unravel fundamental questions about how organisms function, in other words, how life works," said Koster.

During his visit, Bialek will meet with undergraduate classes in the physics and biology departments as well as neuroscience research students. He will also appear on South Dakota Public Broadcasting "In the Moment," Tuesday, Feb. 6.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.