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Kevin Baylen

Professor Michael Cross


IDH 3350.003
23 January 2016
Abstract Hannah Fry Is life really that complex?
This presentation covers the practice of predicting life despite its complexity. By

comparing simple laws of the physical world to complex situations, scientists are better able to

predict outcomes of these complex situations. One comparison found is that human migration

across Europe follows similar laws to the laws of gravity. In the same way that planets are

attracted to one another, people are attracted to areas of better job opportunities, higher pay, and

better quality of life. Such comparisons can be used to predict human behavior during riots to

better equip police force with better strategies in resolving such issues. Using data collected

during the London riots, scientists have found that there are three comparisons of the behavior of

rioters to the physical world. The first is that the decision to riot spreads just as a virus spreads

through a population; the more people that were infected, the more people got infected. The

second comparison is that rioters chose riot sites similarly to the way consumers choose where to

go shopping: generally going to places nearby and only going bigger distances for a popular

shop/riot site. The third comparison is that rioters and police behave similarly to predators and

prey in the wild; prey avoid predator at all costs while the predator patrols the area looking for

prey. Using these comparisons, scientists can understand the cause of these riots and form better

strategies that allow police force to resolve such issues more effectively in the future.

Comparisons between the physical world and human behavior help scientists make predictions

about complex situations, improving the ways that societys problems are solved.