Physics, Flocks, and Fire Ants

Physics, Flocks, and Fire Ants

Though small, ants are mighty; individual ants can withstand more than 5,000 times their own weight by some estimates. “Ants are like no living thing on Earth,”In addition to their strength, speed, and raft-crafting abilities, ants are also excellent atFlocking physics Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have studied the unique collective behavior that arises when fire ants band together. Physics offers a few hints.Flocking (like raft-forming) is an example of active matter: systems whose constituent elements consume energy. Active matter is still a relatively new classification of soft matter; one of the most well-known mathematical models describing active matter — the Vicsek model — was published in 1995. Collective behavior arises as a property of groups but is not necessarily shared by the individual participants themselves.

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