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John W. Clark

Washington University in St. Louis
The Small World of the Nobel Nematode C. Elegans
Many complex networks, consisting of nodes connected by directed or undirected links, display a ""small-world"" character. Like a randomly connected network, they exhibit short global separations between nodes, yet like a regular lattice, they show high local connectivity. Well-known examples include the web of human acquaintances (""six degrees of separation""), the network of movie actors linked by shared billing, the internet, and food webs in ecological systems. Key concepts of the statistical physics of complex networks will be illustrated by studying the connectivity of the 302-neuron ""brain"" of the nematode C. Elegans, a tiny worm that has been the subject of a huge body of scientific work recognized in the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
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