“An Orchestra without a Conductor: The Mathematics of Synchronizing Fireflies” at noon on Thursday 2/28 in Olin 268

Student Colloquium talk by Professor Matthew Mizuhara ’12 of The College of New Jersey

Title: An Orchestra without a Conductor: The Mathematics of Synchronizing Fireflies

Abstract: In Amphawa, Thailand trees are lined with thousands of fireflies spontaneously flashing in near perfect unison. However, there is no “leader” driving this coordination. The Kuramoto model, a non-linear system of differential equations, describes the firefly flashes. Using numerical simulations, we can capture this spontaneous emergence of synchronization and explore other, new patterns which can arise. No background in differential equations is required to enjoy this talk!

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