The mathematics of getting in sync

Stephen Strogatz
Theoretical and Applied Mathematics, Cornell University

(October 12, 2010 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM)

The mathematics of getting in sync

Abstract

Every night along the tidal rivers of Malaysia, thousands of male fireflies congregate in the mangrove trees and flash on and off in silent, hypnotic unison. This display extends for miles along the river and occurs spontaneously; it does not require any leader or cue from the environment. Similar feats of synchronization occur throughout the natural world, whenever large groups of oscillators interact. This lecture will provide an introduction to the math and science of synchronization. Amazing videos of synchronous fireflies and London's wobbly Millennium Bridge will be shown.