SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION.
FACT OR FICTION
SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION...
Most people have heard of the "six degrees of separation" theory -- the idea that everyone in the world is separated from everyone else by six links.
Six degrees of separation is the theory that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries.
In a world of 6.6 billion people,it does seem hard to believe. The theory of six degrees of separation contends that, because we are all linked by chains of acquaintance, you are just six introductions away from any other person on the planet.
But is the notion just a pop culture myth or a fact of life?
Is this a fact or fiction??
Six degrees of separation is the theory that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries. The theory was first proposed in 1929 by the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy in a short story called "Chains." The story investigated in abstract, conceptual, and fictional terms many of the problems that would captivate future generations of mathematicians, sociologists, and physicists within the field.Karinthy believed that despite great physical distances between the globe's individuals, the growing density of human networks made the actual social distance far smaller.
As a result of this hypothesis, Karinthy's characters believed that any two individuals could be connected through at most five acquaintances.
In the 1950's, Ithiel de Sola Pool (MIT) and Manfred Kochen (IBM) set out to prove the theory mathematically. Although they were able to phrase the question (given a set N of people, what is the probability that each member of N is connected to another member via k_1, k_2, k_3...k_n links?), after twenty years they were still unable to solve the problem to their own satisfaction.
In 1967, American sociologist Stanley Milgram devised a new way to test the theory, which he called "the small-world problem." He randomly selected people in the mid-West to send packages to a stranger located in Massachusetts. The senders knew the recipient's name, occupation, and general location. They were instructed to send the package to a person they knew on a first-name basis who they thought was most likely, out of all their friends, to know the target personally. That person would do the same, and so on, until the package was personally delivered to its target recipient.
Although the participants expected the chain to include at least a hundred intermediaries, it only took (on average) between five and seven intermediaries to get each package delivered. Milgram's findings were published in Psychology Today and inspired the phrase "SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION."
The concept was popularised by John Guare's 1990 play, Six Degrees of Separation, which was turned into a film starring Will Smith, Stockard Channing, Donald Sutherland and Ian McKellen. One of the characters says: 'I read somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. Six degrees of separation between us and everyone else on this planet. The President of the United States, a gondolier in Venice, just fill in the names. I find it extremely comforting that we're so close. I also find it like Chinese water torture, that we're so close because you have to find the right six people to make the right connection ... I am bound, you are bound, to everyone on this planet by a trail of six people.'
Then in 1994 students at Pennsylvania's Albright College invented the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, in which the challenge was to connect every film actor to Bacon in six cast lists or fewer. Bacon thought the joke would die out, but when it didn't he launched a website, sixdegrees.org, bringing together people interested in helping good causes.
In 2001, Duncan Watts, a professor at Columbia University, attempted to recreate Milgram's experiment on the Internet, using an e-mail message as the "package" that needed to be delivered, with 48,000 senders and 19 targets (in 157 countries). Watts found that the average (though not maximum) number of intermediaries was around six.
A Face book platform application named “Six Degrees” has been developed by Karl Bunyan (London network), which calculates the degrees of separation between different people. It has about 4.5 million users (as of April 7, 2008), as seen from the group's page. The average separation for all users of the application is 5.73 degrees, whereas the maximum degree of separation is 12.
THE THEORY WHICH SUPPORTS THE PHRASE HAS NOT BEEN DRAFTED YET, BUT A STUDY SAYS THE 60% OF PEOPLE BELIEVE IN THE THEORY. THE THEORY CAME INTO LIME LIGHT IN 1929. AND EVEN TODAY THERE ARE RESEARCH'S ON THE GIVEN TOPIC.
THIS IS ONE OF THE THEORY THAT CAN'T BE GIVE A MATHEMATICAL OR SCIENTIFIC PROOF.IT DEPENDS ON PROBABILITY AND TRIAL AND ERROR METHOD .SO THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO SAY THE THEORY DOESN'T STAND GOOD.AND IN ALL THE ABOVE EXPERIMENTS IT IS ONLY A "CO-INCIDENCE."
If the theory is right,you might be SIX STEPS SHORT OF PRESIDENT OF AMERICA,OR YOUR FAVOURITE CELEBRITY OR EVEN A TERRORIST .
SO WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON THE THEORY??