Synchrony of Fireflies

Fireflies, Photinus carolinus, dazzle with a spectacular light show each summer. There is math intertwined in this beauty. Scientists have discovered that they exhibit synchronous behavior. According to Steven Strogatz, a Cornell University mathematician, the flashing is an enormous system oscillators, things that have a rhythm and go through a cycle. Their team spent several nights in the Great Smoky Mountains. The researchers turned the data into a 3D reconstruction and found that fireflies much reach a critical density before the rhythm starts. Check out the links below and the video from CBS Sunday Morning.

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