Networks | Of Mind and Money


Like a Diamond

Posted on June 20, 2011 by Tara Thiagarajan in Physics of Poverty, Writing. 1 Comment

About 200 years ago it was discovered that diamond, like graphite, was made entirely of carbon. One brilliantly reflective, the other black; one hard, the other soft. How was it possible that two things with properties so contrasted could be made of the same thing? With this discovery came an extraordinary insight: what mattered was not the element itself, for the single carbon atom in isolation had no particular properties. What mattered was the bond structure.

So what does this mean? A chemical bond is simply a probability of how much time electrons from one atom spend hanging around in the space of another. In the case of the diamond the carbon atoms are strongly bonded to each of their four closest neighbours giving it the property of hardness. And so closely engaged are these atoms that when light energy enters … Read More »

The Physics of Friendship: Do we make friendships no differently than a bunch of particles bouncing around?

Posted on April 10, 2010 by Tara Thiagarajan in Uncategorized. 2 comments

Here’s an interesting article that I came across that surveyed 90,000 high school students to reconstruct friendship networks and then created a model of the results using knowledge of how particles in physical systems collide and interact. Haven’t read the article in depth so I’m not really doing much of a job in terms of useful commentary on its merits. Just pointing it out. (The lead author on the paper though is Marta Gonzales who worked with Albert Laszlo Barabasi who wrote Linked that I posted on earlier).

The Physics of Friendship (This is an easy to read writeup on the actual paper)By comparing people to mobile particles randomly bouncing off each other, scientists have developed a new model for social networks. The model fits with empirical data to naturally reproduce the community structure, clustering and evolution of general acquaintances and … Read More »

Linked: How everything is connected to everything else and what it means for business, science and everyday life

Posted on March 29, 2010 by Tara Thiagarajan in Uncategorized. 1 Comment

This is a lazy post. I’ve wanted to write an intro to the extraordinary magic of networks but just haven’t had time to do it yet. So for now I’m going to refer you to Linked, a book by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, which is an easy read. At least check out the intro through Amazon’s look inside feature.

Barabasi has been one of the pioneers in the study of networks, including human and cellular networks and has something to say about virtually every aspect of human networks.