A few in the know can lead the many, according to new research into travelling animal groups carried out by the universities of Leeds and Oxford. Crowds of Leeds biology undergraduates will be observed to test their theory later this year.
Large groups of animals such as bees, fish, sheep and birds have to make collective decisions about which direction to take, although only a few individuals know the route. Some animals use signals to communicate, such as the honeybee’s famous ‘waggle-dance’. But such signals don’t work in large groups because individuals can only see the animals closest to them.
Leeds professor in behavioural ecology Jens Krause and Oxford biologist Dr Iain Couzin created a computer model based on observations of animals to show how information is shared. They looked at groups which don’t use signalling or have a leader. The model revealed that the larger the group, the smaller the proportion of informed animals needed to guide it, and only a small proportion of animals in the know is needed for accuracy. Animals are capable of agreeing which way to go when informed individuals in the group have different preferences about which way to travel, even though these individuals don’t know if they are in the majority or minority.
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In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
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