# Watch 100 Randomly Ticking Metronomes Miraculously Achieve Synchronicity

It’s always sat­is­fy­ing to impose order on chaos, espe­cial­ly if it doesn’t involve bel­low­ing at a room­ful of jacked up teenagers.

Wit­ness the exper­i­ment above.

Mem­bers of Ikeguchi Lab­o­ra­to­ry, a Japan­ese orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cat­ed to the analy­sis and pre­dic­tion of non­lin­ear phe­nom­e­na, placed 100 ran­dom­ly tick­ing metronomes on a hang­ing plat­form, curi­ous as to how long it would take them to syn­chro­nize.

(SPOILER ALERT! They start synch­ing up around the 1 minute, 20 sec­ond mark.)

How? Why? Is this some mys­ti­cal, musi­cal vari­ant of men­stru­al syn­chrony?

Nope. Physics is doing the heavy lift­ing here.

The key is that the plat­form hold­ing the metronomes is not fixed. It affects their move­ment by mov­ing in response to theirs.

To put it anoth­er way, KE = 0.5 • m • v2. Which is to say Kinet­ic Ener­gy = 0.5 • mass of object • (speed of object)2.

If you’re look­ing for anoth­er sci­en­tif­ic expla­na­tion, here’s how Giz­mo­do puts it: “the metronomes are trans­fer­ring ener­gy to the plat­form they’re on, which then trans­fers that ener­gy back to the metronomes—until they all sync up and start hit­ting the beat in one glo­ri­ous wave­length.”

By the two and a half minute mark, some view­ers will be rar­ing to delve into fur­ther study of ener­gy trans­fer­ence.

Oth­ers, their brains implod­ing, may elect to down­shift into a pure­ly audi­to­ry expe­ri­ence.

Close your eyes and lis­ten as the last hold outs fall into rhyth­mic step with the rest of the herd. A pleas­ant­ly har­mo­nious sound, not unlike that moment when a room­ful of jacked up teens sim­mers down, achiev­ing the sort of bliss­ful hive mind that’s a balm to teacher’s fraz­zled soul.

Crav­ing more?  Ikeguchi Lab­o­ra­to­ry also filmed their metronomes in tri­an­gu­lar, cir­cu­lar and X‑shaped for­ma­tions, avail­able for your view­ing plea­sure on the lab’s YouTube chan­nel.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch What Hap­pens When 100 Metronomes Per­form Györ­gy Ligeti’s Con­tro­ver­sial Poème Sym­phonique

The Remark­able Physics of Ants: Watch Them Turn into Flu­ids and Solids at Will

The Mys­te­ri­ous Physics Behind How Bikes Ride by Them­selves

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Her play Zam­boni Godot is open­ing in New York City in March 2017. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

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• SrPilha says:

That’s an inter­est­ing vari­a­tion on Ligeti’s “Poème Sym­phonique” :)

• Phil Barker says:

Very impor­tant effect when design­ing foot bridges, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAXVa__XWZ8

• Rob says:

Sor­ry they ar not run­ning exact­ly syn­chrone. For exam­ple the secend orange on the right is run­ning faster than the first orange on the right. So I think our brains just tell us what we would like to hear. The same as wheels on a car run­ning back­wards while the car is mov­ing for­wards.
Look close con­cen­trate on one and see one or two next to it.

• Blootza says:

Even though the metronomes are syn­chro­niz­ing, a bet­ter choice of words for what they are doing would be “entrain­ment”. Syn­chronic­i­ty is some­thing else entire­ly dif­fer­ent. Iamnot sure one can “achieve syn­chronic­i­ty”. Cool vid though…

• Alfredo Louro says:

Actu­al­ly if you lis­ten to the audio, they start to sync almost right away.

• Marilyn Wills says:

Def­i­nite­ly agree — KE = 05. m . v2 is how I would define it …

• Jonangus Mackay says:

The word is syn­chrony. Sig­nif­i­cant and, I think, a source of hope, how use of the term has rock­et­ed in recent decades https://tinyurl.com/ycp377na #com­plex­i­ty

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