York science professor organizes two international workshops on the biophysics of hearing

Christopher Bergevin

Christopher Bergevin

In June, Professor Christopher Bergevin in the Department of Physics & Astronomy in the Faculty of Science organized two workshops focused on understanding how the ear encodes sound to the brain. Mathematics of Hearing was held on June 16 at the Fields Institute at the University of Toronto, followed by Mechanics of Hearing (MoH) from June 18 to 24 at Brock University; the two events were presented as a series.

Held every three years, the MoH conference brings together leading international researchers from physics, biology, math and engineering who study hearing at the molecular, cellular, and systems levels. It aims to bridge seemingly disparate scientific approaches related to research on hearing and to discover natural connections. As the ear’s remarkable capabilities emerge from many constituent pieces working together, the conference explored how the ear works as a whole and how function “emerges” from a remarkably complex system. This year, more than 140 researchers attended from North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Mechanics of Hearing Conference participants pose for a group photograph

“It was an amazing opportunity to host world-leading scientists here in Canada,” said Bergevin. “The meetings were an outstanding success, chiefly due to both Fields and St. Catharines being excellent venues. Attendees really appreciated experiencing what Canada has to offer, while critically discussing cutting edge interdisciplinary science.”

Bergevin was selected to co-chair the conference due to his unique expertise in the field. His research at York University focuses on auditory biophysics, specifically how sound is transduced by the ear into neural impulses going into the brain. His lab also studies how the ear generates and emits sounds of its own – which are measured routinely in clinical settings, such as in the screening of newborn hearing.

For more details about the MoH conference, visit http://www.mechanicsofhearing.org/moh2017/

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