Pedestrians as interacting particles

Gravity and Levity

I generally don’t like to use this blog to discuss my own scientific projects.  (Physics as a whole is much more interesting than my own meager contributions to it.)  But there is a recent project I was involved in that is getting a decent amount of attentionfrom thepopularpress.  So I thought there might be some value in giving a description of it from the horse’s mouth (or, at least, the mouth of one of the horses).

The basic question behind this project is this:
Is it possible to model a crowd of people as a collection of interacting particles?
If so, what kind of “particles” are they?

Now, this question may seem silly to you.  Obviously, a human being isn’t a “particle” like an electron or a billiard ball.  Human motion (in most cases) arises from the workings of the human brain, and not from random…

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A week of clothes

Little Stories

Wardrobe essentials New addition to bedroom decor: A furoshiki from Kyoto that I’m using as a tapestry.

A week of sartorial choices, sans photos of what I wore.


Rosemary-hued pants from Zara; cream V-neck sweater from J. Crew; terra cotta-colored blazer from Gap. Madewell Oxford shoes. Which I love, because they are my first true “investment” pair of shoes, but I am realizing that they are a little hard on the heels, especially after standing at my desk all day. This doesn’t change my deep affection for them.

When I get home from work, I decide not to change what I am wearing for small group, even though I am tempted to don something slovenly.

To bed: Long-sleeved dark gray T-shirt from Gap; new red plaid flannel PJ pants from J. Crew.


New black Dannie pants from J. Crew, which I bought on sale…

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Time to Move On

Untold Stories


Our job is done in the camps for South Sudanese refugees. It’s for us to move on – first to the Ethiopian capital Addis Abeba and then back to Norway.

A week is enough. Enough sad stories, enough hardship, enough heat and dust. We are happy we can leave. But at the same time it feels unfair in a way. We have the money and the documents needed to get on the next plane and fly out of this depressing place. All the refugees we are leaving behind are stuck. For how long no one knows.

The only thing we can do is to report what is happening; even if we know it will take a lot more to change these people’s lives to the better.

Enough said, Ethiopian flight ET 138 is ready for boarding. We’ll take you to quite another setting when we arrive Addis Ababa to report…

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