The Secret of Synchronization

How does order extemporaneously arise out of pandemonium?

Much of the script-writing was encouraged and notified by his fantastic book Sync, and his 2004 TED talk. He is a big in this field, and has without exaggeration written the book on bedlam, complexity, and synchronization. It was difficult to find a paper in this field that Steven (or one of his students) did not contribute to.
Nicky Case’s Amazing Firefly Interactive —

Terrific Kuramoto Model Interactive —


Strogatz, S. H. (2012). Sync: How order emerges from pandemonium in the cosmos, nature, and every day life. Hachette UK. —

Strogatz, S. H. (2000). From Kuramoto to Crawford: investigating the onset of synchronization in populations of coupled oscillators. Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena, 143(1-4), 1-20. —

Goldsztein, G. H., Nadeau, A. N., & Strogatz, S. H. (2021). Synchronization of clocks and metronomes: A perturbation assessment based on multiple timescales. Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science, 31(2), 023109. —

The Broughton Suspension Bridge and the Resonance Disaster —

Bennett, M., Schatz, M. F., Rockwood, H., & Wiesenfeld, K. (2002). Huygens’s clocks. Lawsuits of the Royal Society of London. Series A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 458(2019), 563-579. —

Pantaleone, J. (2002). Synchronization of metronomes. American Journal of Physics, 70(10), 992-1000. —

Kuramoto, Y. (1975). Self-entrainment of a populace of coupled non-linear oscillators. In International symposium on mathematical difficulties in theoretical physics (pp. 420-422). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. —

Great video clip by Minute Earth about Tidal Locking and the Moon —

Strogatz, S. H., Abrams, D. M., McRobie, A., Eckhardt, B., & Ott, E. (2005). Crowd synchrony on the Millennium Bridge. Nature, 438(7064), 43-44. —

Zhabotinsky, A. M. (2007). Belousov-zhabotinsky reaction. Scholarpedia, 2(9), 1435. —

Flavio H Fenton et al. (2008) Cardiac arrhythmia. Scholarpedia, 3(7):1665. —

Cherry, E. M., & Fenton, F. H. (2008). Visualization of spiral and scroll waves in simulated and empirical cardiac tissue. New Journal of Physics, 10(12), 125016. —

Tyson, J. J. (1994). What all people should know about the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction. In Frontiers in mathematical biology (pp. 569-587). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. —

Winfree, A. T. (2001). The geometry of biological time (Vol. 12). Springer Science & Business Media. —

Extra thanks to Patreon constituents: Mac Malkawi, Oleksii Leonov, Michael Schneider, Jim Osmun, Tyson McDowell, Ludovic Robillard, jim buckmaster, fanime96, Juan Benet, Ruslan Khroma, Robert Blum, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Vincent, Lyvann Ferrusca, Alfred Wallace, Arjun Chakroborty, Joar Wandborg, Clayton Greenwell, Pindex, Michael Krugman, Cy ‘kkm’ K’Nelson, Sam Lutfi, Ron Neal

Written by Derek Muller and Petr Lebedev
Animation by Fabio Albertelli and Jakub Misiek
GFX and 3D animation by Jonny Hyman
Filmed by Derek Muller and Raquel Nuno
Edited by Derek Muller
Additional video clip supplied by Getty Images
Thumbnail by Ignat Berbeci

More footage from NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio

Intro animation by Jorge Cham

Animation of waves in the heart from The Virtual Heart/ EM Cherry/ FH Fenton — and

Chemical materials and etiquette provided by Mike Morris and the UCI Chemistry Outreach Program

Thanks to Alie Ward for title/thumbnail consultation
Thanks to Dr Juliette Becker and Dr James O’Donoghue for the planetary technology help

Thumbnail by Ignat Berbeci


  1. The audience clapping seemed like something from a horror movie

  2. why did people keep walking on that really wobbly bridge xD. hundreds of equally dumb people?

  3. What happens if 100 metronomes are set to different frequencies? Will you get white noise or a complex beat? Or a series of ticks from 1 tick from the highest frequency to 100 ticks simultaneously as all the metronomes coincide? Now I will have to buy 100 metronomes to find out. A clever mathematician could probably predict how various settings on the metronomes would work out and get a computer to produce a synthesis of it. Un-sychronized metronomes, each set to the same interval, synchronize. If the metronomes were set to 2 or 4 or 100 harmonic intervals would they settle down to a complex rhythm? Or a simple rhythm? Would there be nothing better than a cacophony of ticks, to the human ear, that actually contain patterns imperceptible to humans, ; that achieved optimal force distribution and transfer to the collective mass rendering the platform and metronome array very stable but without any nifty, obvious, quick ‘tick’ events. I would be curious to know if anyone has tried this. Cheers.

  4. i love how these past few Videos got back to what veritasium is for me!! You had me worried for a Minute there Derek… with that weird “these Pools help support half the people on earth” video

  5. Does anyone else recognise this from a thought they have at the back of their mind at random times

  6. Ve used production value boost. It was super effective!

  7. Science + agenda?

  8. deja vu??? it seems that i have seen thid vid before

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