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 UQ researchers break the law -- of physics

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Date posted: 06/07/2009

Two UQ Science researchers have proved two famous physical laws that have been widely used for the past 25 years do not always work.

Dr Tony Roberts and PhD student Christophe P. Haynes, from the School of Maths and Physics, showed the fractal-Einstein and Alexander-Orbach laws can fail in some instances, and have derived a new law to replace them.

Dr Roberts said this new discovery had implications for predicting material properties; how disease spreads through society; mapping how wild animals forage for food; and improving the internet.

?Imagine you have an animal that can search for food in one of two valleys, one narrow, with many side branches, and the other wide, with only a few side tracks,? he said.

?Under the old laws, the probability of the animal locating food in either valley was equal, regardless of which was easier. Intuitively we can see that this just isn't the case.

?But our new law takes into account the differences in the valleys, predicting the time it takes for the animal to find food is significantly longer in the difficult valley.?

Dr Roberts said particles in diffuse in complex environments in much the same way, choosing the easiest path, and so their spread was not uniform, as the old laws predicted.

See the full Story via external site: www.physorg.com

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