In Mysterious Pattern, Math and Nature Converge
In 1999, while sitting at a bus stop in Cuernavaca, Mexico, a Czech physicist named Petr Å eba noticed young men handing slips of paper to the bus drivers in exchange for cash. It wasnâ€™t organized crime, he learned, but another shadow trade: Each driver paid a â€œspyâ€ to record when the bus ahead of his had departed the stop. If it had left recently, he would slow down, letting passengers accumulate at the next stop. If it had departed long ago, he sped up to keep other buses from passing him. This system maximized profits for the drivers. And it gave Å eba an idea.
â€œWe felt here some kind of similarity with quantum chaotic systems,â€ explained Å ebaâ€™s co-author, Milan KrbÃ¡lek, in an email.