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Will Sociophysics and Econophysics Shape the Future of Social Science?

social science focuses on providing an insight into how science and innovation work/ Photo By ammentorp via 123RF

 

Social science is defined by Science Daily as an academic discipline which is concerned about the society and the relationships among individuals who are living within the society. The study of social science covers anthropology, economics, political science, psychology, and sociology. Meanwhile, some fields in humanities such as archaeology, history, law, and linguistics are also covered by the social scientists as they study the natural sciences as they try to understand the nature of society and to define science in its stricter modern sense.  There are some social scientists who are using social critique or symbolic interpretation rather than constructing empirically falsifiable theories, and thus treat science in its broader sense.

During the recent years STEM sciences have received the majority of investments and support from the government, universities, and other organizations that are concerned or interested in supporting STEM programs. Although, despite the monetary support that the STEM sciences received, there are still some people who choose to ignore the importance of social sciences in real-world applications. These people don’t realize that social sciences exist in social and primary care, the justice system, and business. One of the common misconceptions about the social sciences is that the only job or work for people who choose to be professional in this field of study are social workers or teachers, but people should know that the study of social science focuses on providing an insight into how science and innovation work, which is why social scientists must be equipped with analytical and excellent communication skills that they could use as they work on different industries and organizations.

Math and Econophysics

According to Daily.jstor.org, a researcher named, Stephen Guy from the University of Minnesota observed that people move to avoid hitting each other when they are interacting in large groups. Stephen Guy and his colleagues wrote that the human interaction in large crowds has a striking resemblance to how particle systems interact with each other. “Pedestrian move, like negatively-charged electrons, which repel each other more strongly as they approach, with one key difference, unlike electrons, pedestrians anticipate when a collision is imminent and change their motion beforehand by swinging wide to avoid a crash.”

Moreover, the idea of using the principles of math and physics in illuminating the human behavior dates back to the 18th century when French Philosopher Auguste Comte proposed that there are general laws which describe human societies, while the Belgian mathematician Adolphe Quetelet began performing statistical analyses of human qualities. Today, all these ideas are now being used in an attempt to explain human behavior with the help of the sciences of sociophysics and econophysics.

 

study of econophysics is mainly based on statistical, probabilistic physics, nonlinear dynamics/ Photo By Denis Ismagilov via 123RF

 

Chegg defined econophysics as the branch of physics where the theories in physics are used in the application for the analysis of the problems which are related in economics and finance problems. The study of econophysics is mainly based on statistical, probabilistic physics, nonlinear dynamics. The statistical property of actual dynamics of the market and the model of the dynamic behavior can be measured using the empirical studies, which can be used to understand the movement of the market. The link between econophysics and social studies is observed when researchers noticed that there is a similarity between how particles are interacting to produce a new effect and when individual people are forming voting blocs during debates between political candidates.

Meanwhile, sociophysics is also applicable in strengthening the capacity of an organization to manage their data. In a website by Govexec, traditional social science can be expensive, since it involves collecting a large amount of survey data that are drawn from thousands of sample members and it is helpful since it uses a much cheaper data, called “big data”.

 

Econo Physicists became interested in the mathematical power laws, where one variable depends on another raised to some power/ Photo By filmfoto via 123RF

 

How Econophysics Helped the Traditional Economics

Econo Physicists became interested in the mathematical power laws, where one variable depends on another raised to some power. The power laws described a range of economic activities such as stock market transactions and, especially relevant today, income inequality. Data analysis served a great purpose in exposing the disproportional large share of income and wealth and the question of global inequality comes to light through the groundbreaking 2014 book titled, ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’ written by the French economist Thomas Piketty.

Daily.jstor.org noted that even though sociophysics and econophysics have the ability to answer the question about how people behave in the society, there are no available researches that could claim that these principles in social sciences can uncover the deep truths about the human nature. Even though, the current generation of scientists has a long shot in surpassing the elegance of the famous result in physics like Isaac Newton’s equation F= ma or Einstein’s E = mc2, the current genius minds will be able to have a better understanding of their field of study if they take patience in deriving their ideas just like Newton and Einstein.

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