The six degrees of separation is a theory that indicates the possibility that any person is connected to another in the world through a chain of people that does not exceed five links.
Surely you have heard about the theory of the six degrees of separation, which states that any person in the world can be connected with another through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries.
This idea, which dates back to 1929, has been the subject of numerous studies, experiments and even films. But is it really true? Is there a way to prove it scientifically?
A group of researchers led by Baruch Barzel, being the main name in the study, has found the answer. The team made up of fourteen scientists spanning different nationalities and who have worked in unison from different parts of the world such as Spain, Russia, Slovenia and Chile, has managed to demonstrate this phenomenon.
To reach this conclusion, scientists used mathematical models for data analysis and prediction, which consist of checking how connections propagate in a complex network. In this way, they were able to identify the most important nodes and the shortest paths between them.
How can you be connected to anyone on the planet?
The study, published in the journal Physical Review X, has both theoretical and practical implications. On the one hand, confirms a hypothesis that had been debated and questioned by the scientific community for decades. On the other hand, it offers new perspectives to understand and improve communication, collaboration and the dissemination of information in today’s world.
Furthermore, the fact that we can being connected to anyone on the planet through a few intermediaries has both positive and negative consequences. On the one hand, it facilitates the dissemination of information, ideas and innovations, which can favor progress and cooperation.
On the other hand, it also increases the risk of contagion of diseases, rumors or conflicts, which can generate problems and tensions. In this sense, it is important to be aware of the role we play in the network and how our actions can affect others.
In short, the Physical Review X article offers us a theoretical and mathematical explanation of one of the most surprising and fascinating phenomena of human networks. Of course, now it remains to be expected that more groups of scientists decide to check if this responds to reality with tests on this study.
This property shows us that the world is smaller and more interconnected than we think, and that we can be connected to anyone on the planet with just a few steps. However, it also presents us with new challenges and responsibilities as individuals and as a society.