23 Airport Road
Bangalore, KARNATAKA 560008


We've all heard of the small world phenomenon--the idea that each one of us can be connected to everyone else through only "six degrees of separation". But where did this idea come from? Is it true? And if it is, what implications does it have for the problems of modern society? In this talk, I sketch out the scholarly history of the small world problem (alongside its meteoric rise in popular culture), from its origins in sociology to an explosion of recent work in physics and mathematics. I also discuss (very briefly) the importance of "six degrees" to a range of issues, from individuals searching for jobs and organizations solving complex problems, to the spread of disease epidemics and the cascade-like dynamics of cultural fads. In the modern world, I argue, it is not sufficient simply to recognize that we are all connected; we must understand both the patterns of those connections and they way they drive our individual and collective behavior.


Duncan Watts is principal research scientist at Yahoo! Research, where he directs the Human Social Dynamics group. He is also professor of sociology at Columbia University, and an external faculty member of the Santa Fe Institute. His research on social networks and collective dynamics has appeared in a wide range of journals, from Nature, Science, and Physical Review Letters to the American Journal of Sociology. He is also the author of Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age (W.W. Norton, 2003) and Small Worlds: The Dynamics of Networks between Order and Randomness (Princeton University Press, 1999). He holds a B.Sc. in Physics from the University of New South Wales, and Ph.D. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from Cornell University.

Yahoo! Big Thinkers India Series

After a huge success since its inception in January 2007, we invite you to another series of quarterly lectures this year on science, technology and the internet in India.

The lectures, under the banner of the Yahoo! Big Thinkers India series, bring together academia, scientists, the corporate world and the media.

The speakers are acclaimed experts from the Yahoo! International Team. They bring with them the expertise and global perspective of the constantly changing world of technology, online products & communities and the internet space in general.

Official Website: http://bangalore.yahoo.com/bigthinkers/event_sep10_08.html

Added by sandipb on August 27, 2008