Senior Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Thesis (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Physics



Faculty Advisor(s)

Joelle Murray (Thesis Advisor)
Michael Crosser & Keron Subero (Committee Members)

Subject Categories

Biological and Chemical Physics | Physics


The forest fire model has been used to test the theory of Self-Organized Criticality as a model of complexity. The goal is to search for scale invariance in randomly generated forest fires using a computer simulation. In a previous model by B. Drossel and F. Schwabl,1 power-law behavior was seen when the nearest neighbors to a tree on fire catch on fire, and it has been assumed that if further trees also catch fire, then it will still exhibit self-organized criticality, showing scale invariance. Testing this assumption aids to the exploration of the applicability of self-organized criticality because the model is the most useful when it applies to a large range of systems, as closely related to nature as possible.

1 B. Drossel and F. Schwabl, Phys. Rev. Lett. 69, 1629 (1992)