Professor Newman's lecture touched on his early collaborations with Duncan J. Watts and their work on the "small-world effect", which was later the topic of Watts' book "Six Degrees" (2005). In the book, Watts wrote of their collaboration:
"...Steve and I had discovered our new secret weapon: Mark Newman.
Mark Newman is precisely the kind of person who makes you wonder why you ever bother trying to do anything. A brilliant physicist and maestro on the computer, Mark is also an accomplished jazz pianist, composer, singer, and dance instructor and even manages well on a snowboard. Still in his midthirties, he has written four books and published dozens of papers in physics and biology journals, has built a reputation as a good teacher, and has invented a number of originial computer algorithms - all without working nights or weekends! More than anything, however, he is fast - unbelievably, indefatigably fast. Working with Mark is like stepping onboard an express train without checking first which line you're on - you're guaranteed to get somewhere very quickly, but you're too busy hanging on to your hat to figure out where until you arrive, usually exhausted. The train, meanwhile, is already off writing another paper."
More true to this day - here you have, our very distinguished Complex Systems Professor - Mark Newman.