The simple idea of taking seemingly random events and grouping them to create a predictable distribution is genius. I always knew Einstein was awesome. It’s got me thinking about other day-to-day processes which operate around this principle/diffusive behaviour, or don’t as the case may be.
As it had been a rather wet week my first thought was rain (I love rain). The pattern droplets make on concrete seems like the perfect image of a diffusion process at a boundary. Perhaps using the right experimental setup one could measure the permeability of concrete using the diffusion model. Although this may be an interesting concept it probably wouldn’t be very practical and I’m sure road-workers have their own faster, more accurate method. My second thought was about something I also love, Tea. Obviously the teabag is the perfect membrane model and it would be relatively easy to determine its permeability (thus leading to the careful creation of the perfect cup of tea. Delicious!).
After running out of further interesting ideas and a quick google check, it seems random walks are useful for a number of things including population genetics, studying the human brain, the share market and much more (It’s even used in art).