You are here

What Would Light (or Elvis) Do?

Writing in Nautilus, Aatish Bhatia revisits the question of which path across the sand and through the water a lifeguard should take to reach a drowning swimmer in the least time.

Bhatia quotes Feynman (who first posed the problem), explains what light has to do with it, and reports that both dogs and ants have been found to take the optimal route.

Bhatia's piece concludes:

Evolution is of course an optimizer, rewarding efficiency with increased representation in the gene pool. Clever and efficient strategies will reap the greatest rewards. Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us, then, that very different creatures arrive at the same trick through very different means. So the next time you’re stuck in traffic trying to find the fastest way back home, maybe you should take a lesson from ants, dogs, or even light.

Read the story.

Start Date: 
Friday, April 11, 2014