Thanksgiving Is Ruined

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May 17, 2006
The physics of hell

Did you ever wonder what the implications would be, from a physics perspective, if you were held prisoner in a cage with bars that receded whenever you reached for them?

Who hasn't?

Then have I got a paper for you, with some awesome equations. It's "Life and Death in a Cage and at the Edge of a Cliff" (.pdf) by two guys at the Boston University physics department, Paul L. Krapivsky and Sidney Redner.

Some might say that the definition of hell would be eternal imprisonment in such a cage. Other might say that the definition of a hotter hell would be eternal imprisonment in such a cage while having to study the physics of your predicament.

The authors and some of their colleagues, including Eli Ben-Naim, are among themselves producing some mind boggling papers there at B.U. Their work investigates questions like:

"What is the Most Competitive Sport?" (.pdf)

"How Popular is Your Paper? An Empirical Study of the Citation Distribution" (.pdf) and

"Kinetics of Heterogeneous Single-Species Annihilation." (.pdf)