Passing of Cesare Marchetti

Cesare Marchetti passed away this morning in Tuscany just short of his 96th birthday.  After meeting Cesare in 1978, Jesse Ausubel became fascinated with Cesare’s ideas about the importance and ubiquity of processes of growth and diffusion captured often in simple form by Lotka-Volterra equations and subsequently coded in our Loglet Lab software.  In the early 1980s Jesse began assisting Cesare on some projects and subsequently worked together on subjects ranging from electricity to travel to human populations and empires (see below).  And of course Leonardo Da Vinci.

Cesare is best known for Marchetti’s Constant that posits that the human time budget for travel is a little above one hour per day, since ever and everywhere, because anthropologically rooted in the dangers homo sapiens faces when outside a protected environment.

Cesare was one of the inventors of geoengineering. His most cited paper is On geoengineering and the CO2 problem (1977).

Around 1970 he was also one of the inventors of the hydrogen economy as described in this 1973 paper: Hydrogen and energy.

A bibliography with links to many of Cesare’s papers from 1952 to 2007 is here.  A second list of publications is here.

Cesare’s explorations of Leonardo are here.

Our group at The Rockefeller University always greatly enjoyed hosting Cesare in New York City, and he reciprocated with marvelous hospitality in Monteloro.

Our joint efforts included:

C Marchetti, JH Ausubel. Quantitative Dynamics of Human Empires [Color Booklet Version, 52 pages].  Adapted from Marchetti and Ausubel, International Journal of Anthropology 27(1-2):1-62, 2012. 2013

JH Ausubel, C Marchetti. Science, Conquering Child of the Church . 2003 Draft prepared for Next 1000 Years meeting, 9-10 October 2003

C Marchetti, JH Ausubel. The Next 1000 Years. 2003 Discussion paper for April 2003 Rockefeller U workshop

JH Ausubel, C Marchetti. The Evolution of Transport. The Industrial Physicist 7 (2): 20–24, 2001

JH Ausubel, C Marchetti, PS Meyer. Toward Green Mobility: The Evolution of Transport European Review 6 (2): 143–162, 1998

JH Ausubel, C Marchetti. Elektron: Electrical Systems in Retrospect and Prospect Pp. 110–134 in Technological Trajectories and the Human Environment, J.H. Ausubel and H.D. Langford, (eds.). Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1997 Also appeared in Daedalus 125(3):139-169, Summer 1996.

C Marchetti, PS Meyer, JH Ausubel. Human Population Dynamics Revisited with the Logistic Model: How Much Can Be Modeled and Predicted? Pp. 1–30 in Technological Forecasting and Social Change vol. 53, 1996.

Requiescat in pace.

Mark & Jesse present NOAA ‘Omics seminar on eDNA abundance

Mark Stoeckle and Jesse Ausubel presented in the  NOAA ‘Omics Seminar Series on Marine fish eDNA Metabarcoding: Promising Developments and Early Applications.  The outline:

–eDNA abundance matters (relevant to detection, quantification, field design, laboratory protocols)

–Adding internal standard to metabarcoding PCRs quantifies eDNA (converts relative sequence reads to absolute eDNA copies)

–Current marine fish metabarcoding protocols ready for wider use (reasonably accurate index of fish abundance, especially for more abundant species)

–eDNA metabarcoding can overcome information hurdles for ecosystem-based management

recording is here , 40-minute presentation and 20-minute Q&A. Thanks to NOAA’s Katharine Egan and Nicole Miller.

Loglet Lab 5 beta available for use

For almost 30 years, thanks to Perrin Meyer, Jason Yung, David Burg, and now Albert Strusberg, we have developed and maintained a software package for analyzing logistic wavelets and logistic substitution, LogletLab

LogletLab 5, now in beta version, offers new web-based features for single and multiple logistics.  We welcome feedback.   We plan in the spring to release 5.1 with more fitting algorithms and also logistic substitution. 

Video of Jesse’s Nierenberg Prize lecture on “Peak Human?”

In this 54″ video made 13 October 2022 Jesse Ausubel, awarded the 2022 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest, discusses whether the human species can continue to improve—much like cars, computers, or other technology—or whether our species has reached its peak.

Another podcast with Jesse about peak human and peak humans

Jesse H. Ausubel joins Jason Spiess on The Crude Life to discuss “Peak Human” and “Peak Humans” in a 34-minute podcast and explore new research showing how humans’ minds and bodies may near their limits and even start on a downward curve.  “For 200-250 years humanity has had an incredible run,” Ausubel said. “When you think of your great grandparents, grandparents, parents and you, generally speaking you are going to be better… than they were.”

New Yates, Stoeckle & Co paper relating eDNA production to surface area of organisms

The journal Environmental DNA publishes open access “Interspecific allometric scaling in eDNA production among northwestern Atlantic bony fishes reflects physiological allometric scaling” by Matthew C. Yates, Taylor M. Wilcox, M. Y. Stoeckle, and Daniel D. Heath. pdf here.

The paper finds that integrating allometry significantly improved correlations between organism abundance and metabarcoding read count relative to traditional metrics of abundance (density and biomass) for bony fishes. Future studies investigating the relationship between eDNA signal strength and metrics of fish abundance could improve by accounting for allometry; to this end, the paper develops an online tool that can facilitate the integration of allometry in eDNA/abundance relationships.

Interspecific allometry eDNA – an online tool

Explore how accounting for allometric scaling in environmental DNA (eDNA) shedding rates influences the correlation with organism count and abundance data. Users can upload their own datasets and use the slider to vary the allometric scaling coefficient (b). Allometry can be applied intra-specifically (among populations) or interspecifically (among species). Size-distribution data supplied to the function can also either be individual-level (e.g. a size distribution of individuals for each population) or population-level (e.g. the mean mass of individuals within a population).