Science Café Cleveland presents


"Moving as with one mind: Mathematical models for collective animal behavior"


FEBRUARY 10, 2014




Alethea Barbaro, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Case Western Reserve University



If you have ever watched a flock of birds in the night sky or a school of fish in the ocean, you may have observed them all suddenly change direction in the identical way, almost as if they are a single organism or share a single mind. Have you wondered how they could possibly orchestrate such a complex and beautiful movement seemingly without the kind of planning or rehearsal that we would think would normally be required to carry out such a maneuver?


This extraordinary behavior is part of an entire spectrum of collective behavior in the animal kingdom. Mathematicians studying this phenomenon have dubbed it "flocking" or "swarming" and are interested in answering how and why such movements happen. This talk aims to get you thinking about how simple behavioral rules for an individual can give rise to complex and majestic dynamics when many organisms move together.



Iain D. Coudzin, et al. (2002). Collective Memory and Spatial Sorting in Animal Groups. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 218:1-11.


Alethea Barbaro, et al. (2009). Modelling and simulations of the migration of pelagic fish. ICES Journal of Marine Science Advance Access.


R. A. Hegemann, et al., Geographical influences of an emerging network of gang rivalries, Physica A (2011), doi: 10.1016/j.physa.2011.05.04. In press.




WHERE: The Market Garden Brewery

(Located at 1947 West 25th Street next to the West Side Market, Cleveland, Ohio)


WHEN: February 10, 2014

Discussion starts around 7:00 p.m.

*Please Note* A few of our cafes have approached capacity and/or standing room only. If you want to be 100% sure to get in and get a good seat, you might want to arrive a bit early.


WHO: Sponsored by Case Western Reserve University chapter of Sigma Xi, WCPN

ideastream, and the Market Garden Brewery



Click here to download a pdf flyer of the event