Network Theory Introduction (02:05)
Scientists have discovered that humans and nature are actually interconnected by six degrees of separation. Learn possible health and security applications.
Six Degrees of Separation Experiment (02:16)
Forty volunteers around the world attempt to send packages to Boston physicist Marc Vidal through people they know—in six steps or less.
Network Science (01:51)
Learn how human relationship dynamics inspired mathematician Steven Strogatz to study social complexity.
Synchronicity Research (06:05)
Learn how Steven Strogatz and Duncan Watts studied crickets chirping in unison to build collective behavior models. Their work led to developing Network Theory—a gap in scientific knowledge.
Network Theory vs. Practice (02:40)
Strogatz explains how all humans are connected, but overlap socially. A Paris dancer sends a package to a friend in Boston, while a Kenyan woman has no contacts outside her village.
Small World Paradox (02:59)
Despite interconnectedness, we are clustered into closed social circles. Strogatz and Watts use a football stadium to describe how a few random links "shrink" communication distances.
Closing Geographical Gaps (02:03)
A Nairobi resident provides a link between a Kenyan villager and a New York resident. Learn how the Six Degrees Theory and migration patterns are shrinking global society.
Kevin Bacon Game (02:51)
Learn how Hollywood actors provided scientific evidence of Network Theory.
Small World Evidence (02:30)
Learn how Strogatz and Watts mapped the U.S. power grid and a worm's nervous system to show patterns among non-human networks.
Predicting Internet Hubs (04:38)
Some packages have been returned without reaching Boston, but most are still en route. Learn how Albert Barabási discovered that web links organize themselves along extremes, instead of a bell curve.
Network Distribution Formula (04:52)
Barabási observed similar hubs in Hollywood, the Internet, and in human cells. Learn how he discovered their function in holding networks together, and how a German lawyer represents a human "hub."
Network Diffusion (02:37)
Alessandro Vespignani used the hub theory to explain how the "I Love You" computer virus spread through the Internet.
HIV Virus Diffusion (03:03)
Learn how Network Theory applies to human sexual behavior and disease transmission. Vespignani's team models global transport networks to predict pandemics and help form public health strategies.
Network Theory and Terrorism (02:19)
Learn how the U.S. military is using network science to improve target strategies, update battlefield tactics, and predict behavior—including capturing Saddam Hussein.
Cellular Network Theory (03:55)
A package arrives in the U.S., destined for Harvard. Vidal is mapping cell protein behavior to identify system breakdowns causing diseases such as cancer.
Genetic Disease Network Map (03:06)
Learn how Vidal and Barabási modeled connections between diseases to better understand their causes. A breast cancer patient participates in a study to improve treatments.
Network Theory Conclusion (03:21)
Three packages arrive to Vidal, having traveled six steps on average. Kevin Bacon has launched a charity based on the "six degrees" concept; experts discuss 21st century applications for network science.
Credits: Connected: How Kevin Bacon Cured Cancer (00:58)
Credits: Connected: How Kevin Bacon Cured Cancer
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