Why Pendulums Sync Up, And Other Mysteries Explained

If you’ve ever seen fireflies flashing together at night, you’ve witnessed the glory of synchronisation. In a new video, [Veritasium] examines some of the mechanisms in nature that help create order out of chaos.¬†

The story begins back in 1665, when [Christiaan Huygens] discovered that two pendulum clocks hanging from the same wooden beam would spontaneously synchronise over a period of time. The same principle is then demonstrated with metronomes – an experiment readily recreated in the home. Other systems that show this same eerie coordiation are then explored – from tidally locked moons orbiting around planets (like ours!), to chemical oscillators discovered by Soviet scientists during the cold war.¬†There’s also a great explanation of the problems faced by the London Millennium Bridge, which swayed wildly under heavy foot traffic as it induced pedestrians to walk in sync.

Overall, it’s a look at some of the action behind the scenes that ties seemingly independent systems together. Learning about such things can prove useful too – it might even help you solve real world problems in your machine shop! Video after the break.

Continue reading “Why Pendulums Sync Up, And Other Mysteries Explained”