7 September 2018
Describing society as if it were a physical system, an atom, the water of a lake, a machine, in order to predict social trends and behavioral responses, to understand the challenges and risks of being connected online or to prevent the large-scale spread of infectious diseases. This is the objective of "Physics for Society", a physics of social systems in which people, businesses and institutions are considered to be parts of systems for which rules and models of interaction are sought. The editorial titled "Physics of Humans, Physics for Society" published in the "Nature Physics" journal is focused precisely on the physics of society. The lead author of the paper is Guido Caldarelli, Professor of Physics at the IMT School of Advanced Studies Lucca, where studies on big data and complex networks represent one of the flagships of the school's research at an international level. The article, a sort of manifesto of this "new physics", edited by Caldarelli together with Sarah Wolf (Global Climate Forum, Berlin) and Yamir Moreno (Institute for Biocomputation and Physics of Complex Systems, University of Zaragoza, Spain and ISI Foundation, Turin), theorizes the application of the laws of physics to the social sciences realm, exploring scenarios and propose solutions that help to better manage changes, predict systemic crises and understand the interdependence between situations.