The Natural Design of Hierarchy: Basketball Versus Academics

The Natural Design of Hierarchy: Basketball Versus Academics

A. Bejan
P. Haynsworth

Duke University, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Durham, NC, USA

Page: 
14-26
|
DOI: 
https://doi.org/10.2495/DNE-V7-N1-14-26
Received: 
N/A
|
Accepted: 
N/A
|
Published: 
30 March 2012
| Citation

OPEN ACCESS

Abstract: 

The power-law correlation between frequency and rank is a physics characteristic of natural flow systems (river basins, demography) in accordance with the constructal law. Here we show that this robust characteristic is a consequence of their design as area-point and point-area flow systems that morph freely and compete for access on an area. The emergence of hierarchical design is illustrated with the rankings of university basketball programs. Although basketball rankings have the same character as the university rankings, there is no correlation between the two rankings. Academic excellence and basketball excellence are two different flow architectures on the same area, like the flow of humanity (demography) and the flow of water (river basins). Together, they show how the evolution of sports allows us to witness biological evolution in our life time.

Keywords: 

constructal law, hierarchy, basketball rankings, university rankings, design in nature

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