Dr Dirk Brockmann is a theoretical physicist at the Max-Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen, Germany and is the Associate Professor of Complexity at Northwestern University’s Department of Engineering Science and Applied Mathematics.

Dirk’s research focus is on complex dynamical phenomena in physics biology, sociology, neuroscience and economics. In 2004 he published the first model that was able to describe the global spread of SARS in 2003, taking into account the commercial aviation network as the virus transport vector. Shortly afterwards he discovered the fundamental math underlying human travel behavior by analyzing the geographic circulation of over a million individual dollar bills in the United States. This data was collected at the online bill tracking game www.wheresgeorge.com.

Dirk insists on being a generalist so that he can think outside traditional specialist paradigms. He is currently developing models for human mediated bioinvasion. He’s also investigating the worldwide traffic of travel bugs. These are tagged items that play a key role in a popular type of GPS treasure hunt known as geocaching.

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