These people are part of an experiment. We are about to test the urban myth six degrees of separation, the idea that in a world of more than 6 billion people, everyone is connected by just a few steps. That's to say that you know someone who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows--
Me, or anyone else on the planet.
When scientists began exploring six degrees, they made some profound discoveries. Nature has a hidden blueprint, a structure that connects us all.
The world is more highly, more globally, and more unexpectedly connected than we ever thought.
Scientists are now exploring whether the power of 6 degrees can defeat terrorism, predict pandemics, and perhaps even cure cancer. And if it does, the one person we can thank is Hollywood actor Kevin Bacon. Marc Vidal is a geneticist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. He's the target of our experiment to test six degrees of separation, the claim that everyone on the planet can be connected to everyone else in just a few steps. Is it real, or just an urban myth? We'll find out.
We've chosen 40 people from around the world to see if they can get package to Vidal. Our participants have never met him, and they aren't allowed to look him up on the internet.
[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
The rules are simple. They must try and get the packages to Boston by passing it to family or friends, people they know on a first name basis.
[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
Will any of the packages make it to Boston? And how many steps will they take?
Eight? Eight steps maybe?
One of our starters is college student Jessica Otto. She lives in the German town of Willich near Dusseldorf. She's planning to send her package to a friend in Canada.
I'll send the package to Kay. I thought because her boyfriend, he studied in Boston. And he has to do something with physics. And I thought he would know a lot of professionals, and I'm pretty sure that one of those knows Marc Vidal.
Testing six degrees is at the heart of understanding our complex society. A decade ago, the idea began intriguing a small group of researchers trying to explain the world using mathematics. It would eventually lead to new science of networks. one of the founders of the science is Professor Steve Strogatz. His path to discovery began with a broken love affair.
Romeo's love increasing the more Juliet is currently living him. So R dot would be A-- the more that Romeo currently loves her, the more than she recoils and wants a run away and hide. The equation looks like this.
I had a tumultuous relationship, it was the first relationship of my life, with a girl in college. And I couldn't understand what she was doing to me. And whenever I seemed to get closer to her and try to show her how much I loved her, she would back away. And then when I realized I'd better give up, this isn't going anywhere, then she was strangely attracted to me.
And this push and pull felt to me, and probably this why I had so much trouble with her, it felt to me like a mathematical equation. So I started to write equations for this give and take, or push and pull between two people, equations for the growth or decay of their love as a function of time.
This to me is a beautiful thing. The unity of nature, that something you can learn in physics has the same mathematical description as the oscillations of a love affair, the ups and downs of a romantic relationship-- the same formulas.
Having successfully conquered romance with equations, Strogatz turned his attention to other mysteries. Nothing had perplexed him more than the phenomenon known as synchronicity.
How can a population of dissimilar individuals suddenly synchronize?
How do fireflies flash in unison across great distances, or crickets chirp as one? How does order emerge from chaos?
We're so used to thinking that if there's a group following acting in concert, it's because there's a conductor for the orchestra. But that's not necessarily so. There's 100 billion brain cells acting like the most complicated thing in the universe. And there's no cell that is the master conductor of the brain. The brain does it as a group.
The heart has 10,000 pacemaker cells that tells the rest of the heart went to beat. Who's in charge? Who's the pacemaker for the pacemaker? Nobody.
Strogatz was not alone in his passion for the simple elegance of numbers. Duncan Watts also wanted to make sense of the world with math.
Here we are just kind of shambling through life, try to make sure the wheels come off, but nothing like science. And I started to think this is what I should be devoting my life to, try and bring something like science to this real world.
Watt's had abandoned a promising career as Australia's top naval graduate to study physics. And when he arrived at Cornell University, Professor Strogatz knew this was no ordinary grad student.
When I walked by his office, I saw a picture of him hanging by his fingertips from the sheer cliff in Australia. And I thought, that's the kind of person that I could see myself working with on a difficult problem. We would try to do something intellectually dangerous, to go to some place at the edge, someplace that people hadn't really thought about before, possibly even a question that doesn't seem like a question you're allowed to think about. I like those problems that are almost taboo because that's where there's a lot to be discovered.
Together they began to investigate the unsolved mystery of synchronicity. And for that, they needed a real world example to study.
And it occurred to us that actually here in Ithaca, we have the world champion of synchronization called snowy tree crickets. On a warm summer evening, thousands of them will all start chirping in unison.
If we could capture some of crickets, could we predict from an individual's behavior how an enormous population of hundreds or thousands of crickets would behave as a group.
So we would find a tree, and then I would clamber up in the tree with a flashlight on my head and a little glass vile, and try and find these critters.
Well the hope was that each individual cricket was actually obeying little mathematical rules unconsciously.
I'd sit there for three hours waiting for the damn crickets to chirp, and they wouldn't chirp.
Testing individual crickets would never work. The answer seemed to lie elsewhere.
You have hundreds of these crickets. And they're all sort of interacting with each other in some kind of complicated way. And the question that came up in my mind over and over again was, who was listening to whom.
And so that got him thinking more generally about patterns of connections, about networks. And it was around that time that something his father said came into his mind. Do you know that you're only six handshakes from any person on Earth?
And I started to think, maybe it's true that this six degrees of separation phenomenon applies in the real world. And what are the consequences, if that's true, for the synchronization of crickets, for the way that disease spreads throughout a human population, the dynamics of markets? And all these sorts of questions seem to have something to do with networks.
And it was almost a scary thought because we could see, when he suggested it to me, that we were on the brink, if we could do anything sensible, of a whole new science that didn't exist yet.
Almost by accident, they'd stumbled across a huge gap in our knowledge. Amazingly, no one before had paid much attention to the structure of networks.
It was at that pivotal moment I really sort of forgot about the crickets, and started to think about networks.
In our experiment to test six degrees of separation, people from all over the world are trying to send a message to a person they don't know, Professor Marc Vidal in Boston.
In Paris, dancer Nadia Tomasova believes her letter has a good chance of making it.
I think somebody could send this to me because may be as I traveled around the world, it makes me very connected around the world. I'm sending it to my friend in Boston, to Josefine [INAUDIBLE]. She's a ballet dancer. I hope she will get it.
Nadia is part of an international network of dancers. To her, the big world is small. In a Kenyan village, one of our participants is struggling with a problem. Nyaloka knows everyone in her village in Nyamware. But nobody seems to know anyone who can get the package closer to Boston.
[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGAUGE]
In Nyamware, the world still seems very large. But it's not a problem restricted to Kenyan villages. No matter where we live or what we do, we all tend to know people very much like ourselves. We're clustered into closed circles, locked within our own social networks.
This is the paradox at the heart of the small world problem. The world is simultaneously very small, with everyone only a few steps from everyone else, and yet very clustered.
Solving this paradox was the key to understanding this secret of six degrees.
So we just started to play around. It was pure mathematics, fun and games, where a network is thought of as points connected by lines. And then asking whether they would have the property of being a small world, meaning that everyone is only a few hops away from everyone else in the network.
Watts began with a thought game, a mathematical model.
Imagine we have a crowd in a soccer stadium.
And now imagine that you're trying to do the experiment of getting a message from this part of the stadium to the farthest remote part of the stadium. And the only way that we can get a message is to talk to the person next to us. And then that person has to talk to the person next to them.
It's going to take a very long time for the message to get from there to there.
Now if I give the person on the other side of the soccer stadium a walkie-talkie, and I have the other one, we can communicate immediately. Clearly, our path length has shrunk. Because now the person next to me can communicate with the person on the other side of the stadium simply by asking me to put a call in.
All of a sudden a whole group of people in my local neighborhood can connect to a whole group of people on the other side of the stadium in many, many fewer steps than they could before this one link came into existence.
Just a single random link has an enormous effect. And add just a few more links, and distance in the stadium as all but disappeared.
The world doesn't gradually gets smaller. It drops off a cliff.
Here was a model that could easily make a big world small. Does our experiment show any sign of it actually happening? In the Kenyan village of Nyamware, Nyaloka's package has been going nowhere. But as Watt and Strogatz predict, just a single link can make a big difference.
[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
Nyaloka's aunt Margaret has come from Nairobi for a visit. She's the link to the outside world.
Here to meet Margaret.
Welcome. Come in.
I've come to take your package.
I don't know anybody in Boston. I don't know this Marc Vidal. But I know somebody in New York. I know a lady called Deedee Halleck.
Hello ma'am. It's an express package from Kenya.
From Kenya? Oh, it must be Margaret. Thank you so much.
All right. Thank you ma'am.
Oh, I'll have to open it.
I was in Kenya last summer working with Margaret Owino. And she's an old friend, and I thought her husband is some kind of scientist. I thought maybe if I send it to Lee Min, she would also be able to somehow connect.
A key part of the six degrees effect is that all of us knows someone who has moved away and has now forged a link between us and geographically distant communities. That random connection is bringing the whole world together. And it's happening all across the world with everybody.
Watts and Strogatz had a theory. But now they needed to prove it by studying real networks. The problem was no one had thought it worth mapping any, except one. We don't normally associate Hollywood with the real world. But for the scientists, it offered the first possibility of testing their ideas. More than a million actors have worked in Hollywood on half a million films. Here was a huge network of connections.
In the mid 90's some college students devised a trivia game based around the idea of linking every actor to just one star--
Kevin Bacon. Rodney Dangerfield was in Caddyshack with Bill Murray. And Bill Murray was in She's Having a Baby with Kevin Bacon.
Back then Brett Tjaden was a computer student with too much time on his hands. And he thought ti would be fun to turn the Kevin Bacon game into a website.
Welcome to the Oracle of Bacon of Virginia website.
I wrote a program that would extract the path from every actor or actress to Kevin Bacon. Before I knew it, a couple of the websites picked up on it and made it their pick of the week, or whatever. And that brought in a tremendous number of visitors.
Abbott and Costello?
Brett Tjaden helped turn Kevin Bacon into a cult figure and the inspiration for a major scientific breakthrough.
People kept saying to us when we would talk about six degrees that, oh yeah, that's the six degrees of Kevin Bacon game that everyone was playing at that time. But we thought, well, actually it's a scientifically serious thing.
So we wrote to Brett and said look, we're doing research on networks. And we think you have this really interesting [INAUDIBLE]. Would you mind if we had it?
And to their astonishment, the Hollywood network conformed precisely to their theory. A few random links shrunk the connections between a million actors.
The model worked almost perfectly. There was an incredibly high level of clustering. But it was also the case that everyone could reach everyone through just a few steps.
If you looked at any two actors, the typical number of steps between them, people you've never heard of, was about somewhere between three and four.
Hey, I am the center of the universe.
Without even knowing it, Kevin Bacon had inspired the first real evidence that small worlds existed. But to prove their theory was universal, Watts and Strogatz needed to find small worlds in networks without people.
Tests have proven the great power system ready for transmission.
Here was the perfect example to test their theory, America's massive power grid, with enough high voltage cables to reach the moon.
It's been described as the world's largest machine. So it's a kind of an organism that grew itself.
The grid is the result of thousands of random events, as new generators and cables were added to meet the growing demand of America's industry and population.
We found that it too was a small world. Even though it had 5,000 power plants over half a continent of area, it only took a very few hops to get from any one to any other.
We thought, OK, let's be ambitious here. Let's think about completely different kinds of networks.
I had heard that every neuron in your brain is just a few synapses away from every other neuron. But we were now in a position to be able to prove that really was right.
There's only one nervous system that has been fully mapped, the nervous system of a worm called C. Elegans.
And that we found was a small world also.
We found the same kind of results-- short path length, high clustering.
It was like time to uncork the champagne for both of us. It was very, very thrilling.
Watts and Strogatz showed us a new view of the world in which distance vanishes. And it was a staggering implication in their discover. What goes around, comes around faster than you think.
Most of our packages are on their way. From Germany, Jessica is following the progress of her package online. So far it's made it to Toronto. In Paris, the dancer Nadia is on vacation and her friend has found the package has come back from Boston unopened.
This is Nadia's letter. It gets returned. So I guess it didn't make it.
From 40 original starting points, 27 packages are still on their way somewhere, even crossing paths as they pass through the giant sorting house of the courier companies. And it's the significance of hubs that would be the next big discovery in network science.
While Strogatz and Watts were pioneering small worlds, another scientist would look at the problem from a different angle. For Hungarian physicist Laszlo Barabasi, understanding networks held the promise of predicting the future. His inspiration came from a classic work of science fiction, Isaac Asimov's Foundation.
"I have said the empire will lie in ruins within the next century."
Asimov's Foundation centers on a mathematician with the ability to predict the future. But Barabasi had identified a flaw in the story.
I started thinking, what is it I could do to predict the future. Idealize that what is missing from Asimov's thinking is the network, the structure, and the behavior of the network. Because events are never isolated. They depend on each other. They interact with each other. So we need to understand how they interact.
To understand these interactions, Barabasi needed a network that had been thoroughly mapped.
The major problem was that the data was incredibly difficult to find.
He's great luck came in the early 1990s. The worldwide web was exploding in popularity. Here was a huge network he could map by tracing the links between webpages. No one directed [INAUDIBLE]. Anyone could put up a site and link to wherever they liked. So the expectation was that the structure would be entirely random.
If the [INAUDIBLE] to be a random the network, then the distribution of the links follows a bell curve. I would find something similar to this.
In a bell curve, there are few extremes. Most web pages would be grouped in the middle, having the same number of links. But what he found was different. The web links were not evenly spread. Most pages have very few, but there was some with a huge number of connections.
We found a few webpages that had thousands of links pointing to them. And these were the hubs.
It was completely new, completely unexpected. First we did not know what to do that.
This was no random world. It seemed to have an organizing principle based around hubs. In these early days of the web, long before the familiar super sites of today had emerged, Barabasi's study had glimpsed the future.
It predicted the potential for the existence of huge hubs like Amazon, and Google, and Yahoo! Turned out to be.
Barabasi's hunch was that behind this pattern, there may be a deeper truth lurking. By coincidence, Watts had just published his paper on the small world of Hollywood actors. Barabasi wondered if there could be hub there too.
I got an email from Laszlo Barabasi. And he said would I mind sharing some of the data.
We saw exactly the same pattern as we observed earlier on the world wide web. There were many, many actors that had only a few links to other actors. There were a very few major hubs however.
Finding hubs in Hollywood was a major breakthrough. It suggested that networks didn't just grow accidentally, they evolved according to some pattern. If so, hubs should be everywhere. And sure enough when he looked, Barabasi found hub networks in transportation routes, in computer chips, within the human cell.
I kept thinking how is it possible. because they cannot be more different in the scope, in the [INAUDIBLE] and their nature. The more I though about it, the more I realized that there must be a simple explanation for that. Because these are such different systems that the only way they could be similar to each other is that there is one simple law that described the structure of all of them.
And he discovered that simple equation that describes our complex interconnected world. P k equal k to the minus gamma. That is the formula.
Here was the secret behind almost every network, the structure that nature uses to spin its webs. And once it could be seen, it revealed networks have peculiar strengths and weaknesses, with implications for all of us.
There are hundreds and thousands and potentially millions of errors in my cell. And yet, I don't even notice. The internet can work even when hundreds of its routers are not functional. If you leave out this small nodes, it does not matter. The network will shrink, but will not fall apart.
But there is a price you pay for this extreme robustness. If you remove the hubs, the system will fall apart.
Watts and Barabasi had revealed the hidden world behind networks. They had become hubs themselves, their studies now those most often referred to by other scientist, As researchers from many disciplines explore the power of six degrees.
Society has its hubs too, people who are much more connected than the rest of us. German lawyer Philipp Thomas is one of them. And it's made him the obvious target for someone sending a package from Burma.
Well, the one who sent the package to me is Michael [INAUDIBLE], an old friends from Burma. He's actually Australian-Burmese. Burma is a fairly isolated place. So Burmese unfortunately don't have too many contact to the outside world. Michael knows that I have family spread in the US, so it must've been pretty obvious for Michael that I might be one potential link in that chain.
Scientists investigating six degrees have discovered that random links in hubs make the world small, allowing everything to travel far and fast on the network. This can be good news, or totally devastating. It depends, of course, on what's spreading on the network.
I love to cook. That's something that I've always loved since I was a teenager. When you merge different flavors, you get something which is completely new that is really exciting. That's somehow what happened, I believe, for me in science.
Alessandro Vespignani is one of the first to put the new understanding of networks to practical use. And his findings could save millions of lives. His specialty is diffusion, what happens when things mix together, especially when a computer virus enters the internet.
In 2000, the I love you virus spread around the globe in just hours.
--and penetrated the CIA, the Pentagon, and the Houses of Parliament.
Vespignani was puzzled by its rapid spread and by its resilience. Even though software to kill the bug was released within a day, it survived for months.
The quicker the disease is at the beginning, the quicker it should die out from the system. And actually, this was not the case. We were really puzzled by this fact that the I Love You virus was lingering in the wild.
Like the scientists, Vespignani assumed that viruses spread at random. We were trying a few things. And actually something, at a certain point, I was struck by a paper.
It was Barabasi's study showing the internet had a predictable structure.
When I saw the image of the internet, I thought that that was the pattern that I had to include in the model in order to get a realistic description of what was happening with computer viruses.
By mixing his knowledge of diffusion with a map of the internet, he discovered I Love You would move unstoppably through the hubs, and hide in the far reaches of the net. And as he was about to learn, this has implications far beyond the internet.
Vespignani's group is now modeling the intersection of global transport networks and disease. They can predict the spread of the new flu virus. Airline networks are dominated by a few major airports. Once an infected person passes through one of these hubs, the virus will be unstoppable.
But Vespignani's research also offers a solution. The way to prevent a global catastrophe is by sharing precious antivirals.
What you find is that it's beneficial to the entire world, and to each country, to share antivirals, to be cooperative, and not to be selfish. We form a global network. And whatever we do is going to reverberate across the network and an important implications at the global level.
Understanding six degrees may be the planet's best hope of dealing with some of our most complex problems.
West Point, 200 years uninterrupted by progress.
The predictive power of networks is attracting intense interest, and change some old ways of thinking.
Is there one node that sticks out at you that we would want to remove?
The center node.
The center node. How come?
So it's got the most connections. That's right.
We can take a network of different terrorists and how they interact with each other, and how they link up. And from that, we can determine who the key leaders are in these groups, and who it is we need to target in order to break up these cells and prevent further terrorist activity.
The first application of this new [INAUDIBLE] is also the most spectacular. Network science principles led directly to the capture of Saddam Hussein.
Ladies and gentleman, we got him.
The way we were able to capture Saddam Hussein was not through his utilizing cell phones or any type of communication device, but the social network structure of family and supporters that existed, we were able to identify the particular nodes of communication amongst those individuals, what they were saying. And based on that and the location, we were able to pinpoint where he was.
Understanding and applying network science will revolutionize battlefield tactics.
I believe network science is going to benefit the military immensely. And the reason why is because we'll be able to predict behavior unlike any time before.
The first generation of network trained officers is already on the battlefield. It's been less than a decade since the ideas they now trust with their lives were first discovered.
From Burma to Germany to America. One package is making swift progress.
Are you Mr. Thomas?
Yes, I am.
I have a deliver for you.
Wonder what it is. It's a letter about that old paradigm six degrees of separation. I'm suppose--
The final destination?
The final destination is this geneticist at Harvard by the name of Marc Vidal. But I know somebody at Harvard that i can mail this to. It's Michael Miller. He's a psychiatrist.
Editor in Chief of The Harvard Mental Health Letter. I figure he either know Dr. Vidal, or knows somebody who knows Dr. Vidal.
Marc Vidal is a geneticist. For him, the six degrees experiment is part of a much greater project, creating the first road map of the human cell.
Imagine if we tried to understand traffic in the city without having any maps, without having any idea of how interconnected the different roads are. Analogies are never perfect, but it's one way that I can imagine how things occurred in the cell.
Cells are the building blocks of life that hold the genes that determine our development. Those genetic instructions are carried out by thousands of different proteins.
The proteins are the little tools, the parts, of the cell. They don't work in isolation. They interact with each other. In Vidal's bustling cellular city, proteins are like people, constantly on the move and communicating with one another.
If I start from my favorite proteins and ask, what does it interact with, I'm now back to basically a problem of six degrees of separation. Who is connected to whom?
Vidal believes that he could produce a map, then potentially he could locate breakdowns in the system that cause disease, diseases like cancer, where the genetic signal to kill a cell has been lost.
So I devoted my life to try to understand the inter-connectivity between genes.
Marc Vidal goes to every single molecule and says, whom do you interact with. Now it goes to those molecules and says, whom do you interact with. And step by step, produces, generates, a network of the cell, in the same way that in 1990, we created a map of the world wide web.
He did not know about us. I had no idea about him. Everybody told him he's crazy.
The vast majority of biologists would have thought that even if we had a good quality map of the wiring diagram of the cell, not much really interesting would emerge out of it.
Vidal's theory may have come to nothing had he not stumbled upon the work of another scientist. It was Barabasi's paper describing a universal law in networks.
And this really was an eye-opener. What became immediately obvious to me when I opened that magazine, it would be incredible if we could actually use it in the context of cellular networks, and try to use similar models to explain human disease.
Seeing disease as a network means it's no longer just about biology. It's become a math problem. And this offers entirely new ways of dealing with disease, so promising that Laszlo Barabasi has joined forces with Vidal to explore the potential.
One day Laszlo came to my office all excited saying, what if we looked at all the connections at the same time for all diseases and all genes involved in diseases.
The result is the most remarkable network map of all. It shows for the first time connections between every known human disease. and just as the Hollywood actors network links stars through their films, we can now see how diseases are linked by the genes they have in common.
The network that came out of this analysis had absolutely incredible properties. For one thing, in many diseases we still don't know all the genes that are involved in those diseases. Breast cancer is one example of that. And so using maps such as that one, that can help us finding the genes that have remained a mystery up until now.
Lori Benson is a young mother fighting breast cancer. It's already claimed the lives of two women in her family. Science has only identified 10% of the genes responsible for breast cancers. And that severely limits the effectiveness of treatments.
I was 38. My daughter was 14 months old. And from the day that I found out to the day I went into surgery was only 10 days.
With a daughter who may also be carrying the faulty genes responsible for the disease, she's keen to know more. Vidal's research could offer a dramatic shortcut to finding the root cause of the disease.
Hi, nice to meet you.
Very nice to see you. How was your trip?
Yeah? Come in, please. Anyway, so what I wanted to show you here-- we use yeast cells, which you can actually see on this plate over here.
Vidal places human proteins into yeast cells and then waits to see which ones interact with each other.
--in yeast cells.
So the ones that don't have any growth, means they're not connecting?
Of course, this is a very small experiment. And you have to imagine hundreds and thousands and thousands of plates like this one, which then allow us to say those pairs do not interact, those pairs, they do. Let's draw the network. Let's study it. And let's try to extract biological information from that.
All right. How is it going to be actually applied to treating people?
The effect of a drug might be very different in one individual relative to another one, considering the nature and the properties of this big network over here.
And to individualize the treatment.
And individualized, exactly, personalized.
That's certainly the hope.
Vidal's work remains experimental. But his network maps may be the best hope for future generations of Lori's family. From Hollywood, to a math equation, to a daring new approach to fighting disease, this is the promise of network science, a new way of seeing our world.
The first package has made it to Boston, reaching a work colleague of Marc Vidal.
Let me run inside and get that package for you.
Thank you very much.
I'll be sure to deliver it.
All right, great.
Marc and I serve on some committees together. And I've advised him on a couple of legal matters over the years. He's in the building right next door to me. And I can deliver this package to him quite easily.
Another package has arrived at Marc Vidal's office.
I have a package for a Marc Vidal.
Is Marc in?
He is. But while you're walking over there, would you please--
--pass that on to him?
No problem. Hi, Marc.
Hey, Laszlo, how are you?
Hey, good to see you.
Good to see you.
There is something for you.
Let's see the story with this one.
All right. Let's see what you got here.
This package has traveled more than 10,000 kilometers.
What is this?
So this is a lady called Nyaloka Auma.
We went from a small town in Kenya all the way to Boston.
Two, three, four, five six.
Six degrees of separation.
There you are.
Six degrees is not just an urban myth after all. In a few short steps, we've gone from crickets to Kevin Bacon to cancer. A decade on, Bacon has decided he might as well accept his cult status.
When I first heard about the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, I was really kind of horrified. I thought it was a joke at my expense. And I was hoping that it would go the way of the pet rocks and 8-track cassette tapes. But it seems to be hanging on.
Now he's put the power of social networking to good use, launching a charity website, sixdegrees.org. The site let's people like Lori Benson link her friends and their friends to good causes like Marc Vidal's work at Dana-Farber.
I want to make a plea that we use the power of six degrees and social networks and make a donation to Vidal's lab. To me, his work sounds like our greatest hope for finding a cure.
Our packages have passed through 28 countries and 53 cities. Three chains made to Marc Vidal. And they averaged six steps in getting there. Six degrees has revealed a new view of nature and a reminder that if the world is small, then we're all in this together.
Everything appears to be connected in ways that were absolutely not predictable just 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago.
It's going to completely change the way we think about the world.
All the major problems in science today depend on understanding networks.
Network science is the foundation of the 21st century.
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Documentary unfolding the science behind the idea of six degrees of separation. Originally thought to be an urban myth, it now appears that anyone on the planet can be connected in just a few steps of association. Six degrees of separation is also at the heart of a major scientific breakthrough; that there might be a law which nature uses to organize itself and that now promises to solve some of its deepest mysteries.
Features Steven Strogatz, the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell, and Duncan Watts, PhD '97, principal researcher at Microsoft Research and A.D. White Professor-at-Large (2013-2019).