The Marvelous Physics of Swarming Midges

The Marvelous Physics of Swarming Midges The New York Times

A new report shows that midges form movements similar to the starling’s stunning displays known as murmurations. So like…mini-murmuration, micro-murmuration…mostly-murmurating-midges. Via The New York Times:

In the parlance of statistical mechanics, this is known as a scale-free correlation. It is a property of criticality — what liquid undergoes at the point that it becomes a gas, or how particles in a lump of hot iron, when cooled to a specific temperature, change orientation in unison and create a magnet.

This year, Dr. Cavagna and Dr. Giardina’s work on starlings earned them the prestigious Max Delbrück Prize in Biological Physics. And during the early years of their research, while taking their young children to Rome’s parks, they marveled at the swarms of midges flitting above the grass and started wondering about them, too.

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