Mathematician Lionel Levine researches the abelian sandpile—a mathmatical model that captures aspects of the real world but with simpler rules; in this Cornell Research article, Levine calls it a "toy universe."
“Many things in nature are much more ordered than you might expect from a description of the laws of physics,” observes Lionel Levine, Mathematics. Levine has a knack for finding order where someone else might see chaos. Levine’s expertise, probability, measures the likelihood of an event or outcome. Any single roll of the dice defies certainty, but with enough perspective—over the course of many crapshoots—even chance has a pattern.