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The Living Clock

Plenary / Panel
in englischer Sprache

Virtually all living things, from single-cell plants and animals up through
humans, contain an organic timepiece within their protoplasm. This horologe
is used to adjust individual organisms behavior and physiology to the major
geophysical periodicities expressed in their habitats. Organisms most
commonly synchronize their activities to the twenty-four hour day-night
cycle, but some, like intertidal dwellers, also mimic the timing of the ebb
and flow of the tides.
The fundamental rate at which a clock runs is innate. Here are examples of
the proof for this. There are plants that raise their leaves during the
daytime and drop them to the sides of their stems at night. When these plants
are brought into the laboratory where the lights are always left on and the
temperature held constant, the leaves still rise and fall pretty much in
synchrony with those of their former neighbors remaining in the natural
setting outdoors. Intertidal crabs run around the shoreline when the tide is
out but remain in their burrows during high tides, and display the same
running/rest pattern in the constancy of the lab. Clearly, in the absence of
day/night and high/low tidal changes the experimental organisms clocks take
total temporal control.
The human clock is a daily one. People tested in aperiodic conditions in the
lab continue their same sleep/wake patterns thanks to their internal clocks.
Something like one hundred other processes in humans are known to be under
the same clock control.
While the period of the clock is innate, it s “hands”, i.e., the phase of
the overt activities driven by it, can be reset. This is accomplished by
moving an organism to a different time zone on the face of the earth. Human
shift work of does the same thing.
My talk will illustrate the basics of the temporal aspects of living things.

Ph.D. John D. PALMER

 Biological Rhythms in Intertidal Organisms
 General lab interests are invertebrate development, behavior, and cyclic displays. For the last ten years our emphasis has been on the rhythms and living clocks of shore-dwelling animals, mainly crabs and pelecypods. The work is carried out in marine labs scattered around the world, especially the Portobello Lab in New Zealand. The Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts serves as home base. We are trying to decipher just what kind of horologue governs organismic rhythms that match the period of the tides. Using new ways to approach the problem we have described several heretofore unknown properties of tide-associated rhythms, and from these findings have produced a circalunidian-clock hypothesis that is now gaining favor.

Technology Symposium

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Kategorie: all Breakout Plenary


11:00 - 12:15OpeningPlenary
11:15 - 12:00Time of change – chage as chancePlenary
12:00 - 12:4550 Years of Schrödingers Reflections on Life and LivingPlenary
13:00 - 14:15Location Strategies for Know-how Intensive IndustriesPlenary
14:15 - 15:15Medical Technology and Preventive MedicinePlenary
15:15 - 16:30The Future of European Reseach – New Instruments and ResourcesPlenary
18:00 - 18:45The Living ClockPlenary
18:45 - 19:30The Devices of Wonder – the Science of Devices of WonderPlenary


07:00 - 15:00Working Group 1: RiskBreakout
07:00 - 15:00Working Group 2: R&D Infrastructure – a Location Strategy for Metropolitan AreasBreakout
07:00 - 15:00Working Group 3: Utilities and Infrastructure – the Backbone for an Industrialised CountryBreakout
07:00 - 15:00Working Group 4: Kyoto and CO2 – Technology Pull and/or Location PushBreakout
07:00 - 15:00Working Group 5: Innovation Motor Micro- and NanotechnologiesBreakout
07:00 - 15:00Working Group 6: Brain gain, brain drain – Future networks Austria – USABreakout
07:00 - 15:00Working Group 7: New mobility – new partnerships for the western Balkan countriesBreakout
07:00 - 15:00Working Group 8: Medical Technology and Preventive Medicine -Finance and OrganisationBreakout
07:00 - 15:00Working Group 9: Digitalisation of communication – “Your Personal Radio and TV-program”Breakout
07:00 - 12:00Off AlpbachPlenary
18:00 - 18:45The Decade of Machines, that Understand SpeechPlenary
18:45 - 19:30Technology and Know-how Management in and for Intelligence ServicesPlenary


07:00 - 08:00The Location of SciencePlenary
08:00 - 09:00Reflections on the Alpbach Technology-Symposium – Presenation of “Junior Alpbach”Plenary
09:30 - 10:15Cosmic Background RadiationPlenary
10:15 - 11:00Architecture für Science – the New Architecture of SciencePlenary