Choosing the right location for your practice is one of the most important and difficult decisions an orthodontist must make. A new model created by Pablo Jensen of the Ecole Normal Superieure in France analyzes businesses in much the same way that physicists model interactions between spinning atoms.

Jensen studied the locations of businesses in Lyon, France, to determine which stores seemed to attract each other and which stores repelled each other (much as atoms can attract or repel each other in various materials). His analysis lead to a quality index called Q that revealed promising store locations throughout the city. Q might be high for a jewelery store in a particular location if there are other accessory stores nearby selling shoes or hats, but few neighboring grocery or hardware stores.

Jensen confirmed his model by looking at business data for Lyon in 2003 and 2005. He found that bakeries, for example, that were located in low-quality locations in 2003 tended to fail by 2005. Meanwhile, new bakeries popped up preferentially at locations where their Q index was high.

Jensen is currently working with the Lyon Chamber of Commerce to use his model’s predictions of Q to help aspiring business owners find promising locations.

[www.sciencedaily.com, October 2, 2006]