Graph Theory or: How I Learned to Love 7th Grade Math

Strange as it may sound, the study of networks began for me in 7th grade with geometry and algebra.  Little did I know the Konigsberg Bridge problem would reappear in my life in a more meaningful way 15 years later.  It is interesting to think of this problem as being fundamental in the way we now graph network typologies: nodes and edges.  But beyond pure representational techniques, this problem represents an early venture into abstraction.  To reduce places and routes – physical things – down to mere points and lines is fundamental in understanding other abstract concepts like: efficiency, connectivity, the small-world effect, etc.  Philip Ball expands on this in Web Worlds , that this system of representation can be extended to diagramming natural phenomena (fluvial) as well as the man-made (telephony, electrical grids).  Surely, graph theory is one of the first layers of the anthropocene – an indelible mark left on the earth, by us.  Thanks to Leonhard Euler, the author of the Konigsberg Bridge problem, biological and synthetic can be understood in the same visual language.


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