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Connected: The Power of Six Degrees

Arts & Entertainment
Wednesday, May 11, 2016, 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Connected - The Power of Six Degrees

"We've all heard of 'six degrees of separation', the idea that everyone in the world can be connected in just a few steps. But what if those steps don't just relate to people but also to viruses, neurons, proteins and even to fashion trends? What if this 'six degrees of separation' allowed us an insight into something at the core of Nature? 

The explosion in the new science of networks started with an Australian PhD student Duncan Watts while studying, of all things, crickets, and the mechanism that allows them to chirp in unison. He investigated networks as varied as the actors of Hollywood, the neural pathways of the brain and the US power grid and discovered that they are all 'small worlds' where every actor, neuron, cricket and transformer is only a few 'handshakes' away. 

Meanwhile a Hungarian physicist, Albert-Laszlo Barabasi coincidentally mapped the World Wide Web and found an underlying law that shapes small-world structures. Whether natural or man-made, vast diverse networks share a common blueprint, a structure that describes their strengths and weaknesses. In the near future network science will fundamentally change how we control epidemics; power failures; fight wars; save endangered species; prevent crime and disease.."

Hosted by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi and Annamária Talas