Mathematics and Physics Think Tanks – What is the Best Size of the Group?

Jeanne A. Curley

Did you know a good many of the most influential think tanks in the world are all about the mathematical analytics involved in problem-solving? Indeed these think tanks use mathematical equations to figure out the most appropriate solution to the major economic, military, energy, and infrastructure challenges that face mankind. Why is this you ask? Well, it has a lot to do with coming to a conclusion without making a mistake, and stacking the deck in your favor based on probability of a positive outcome.

Of course, to do this, first you need to know which mathematical equations to use. But that requires an entirely different type of think tank. It requires a think tank that is all about the math, and not about the given problems. In other words you have to develop the proper math first, before you can solve anything. Therefore, if a group of individuals are trying to come up with the best solution they would first refer to the mathematics arm of the group to give them the proper analytical basis.

Now then, helping one determine what the size of a physics or mathematics think group should actually be is not so easy? Well it turns out that we need to refer back to the group iteself, and calculate what the best size group might be for that area of science. It turns out there is a mathematical equation which determines the best size for a mathematical mastermind group. Isn’t that interesting? And believe it or not, statistically it has been proven that the size of these groups matters more than you might ever believe.

In fact, there was an interesting article published recently in Physics World, written by the News Editor Michael Banks which was titled; “Why 13 and 25 are Magic Numbers for Physicists” and posted online on June 9, 2011. The article explained that there is actually a mathematical basis for the efficiency of success in experimental physics groups and mathematical think tanks. You see if the group is too small, there tends not to be the big breakthroughs, but if it is too large the personalities, egos, and debates take up too much time and less will get done, sometimes nothing gets done. The article states;

“Two physicists have, for the first time, quantified how the increasing size of research groups in physics affects the quality of the work it can produce. They conclude that the best group size for experimental physicists is around 25 researchers, while in theoretical physics the number is 13. Adding more researchers to the group over these sizes does not result in an increase in research quality.”

The other day, I was speaking to a College Professor working on a research paper that could revolutionize human mathematics, and introduce some rather intriguing geometrical shapes as the basis for calculating quantum computing problems, and also solving mathematical proofs that have been deemed nearly impossible to prove so far. Indeed, perhaps even come up with endless new proofs and launch a whole new branch of mathematics. In discussing this completely intriguing concept with him, we determined we needed a special think tank to do it.

In this case study it makes sense to find a 13 of the top analytical mathematics scientists if indeed we expect the project to be viable, and come up with adequate solutions. In any case, I hope you will please consider the importance of mathematics in the proper running of our civilization. Think on it.

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