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Science Meets Music – The Principals of Collective Behavior


Ingenuity and dedication: essential elements for both Science and Art. The musician and the scientist require them alike to break through towards new frontiers, where discipline, perfection, and attention to the minutest details are just as important as curiosity, courage, and inspiration.

Visionary scientists are at the origin of most ground-breaking discoveries. Creative and inspired musicians have led to many magnificent compositions and world-class musical performances throughout history.

In Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience’s acclaimed public lecture series, the South Florida community is invited to exciting science talks on new discoveries in brain research together with outstanding musical performances by talented young musicians.


DR. IAIN D. COUZIN, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology / University of Konstanz

Dr. Couzin joined the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in February 2015 to set up the new Department of Collective Behavior. Previously, he was a full Professor at Princeton Universtiy. His work aims to reveal the fundamental principles that underlie evolved collective behavior, and consequently, his research includes the study of a wide range of biological systems, from insect swarms to fish schools and primate groups.

The extraordinary synchrony of motion exhibited as a flock of birds arcs overhead, or a school of fish turns, as a ripple of light, is captivating. Like some animate fluid the individual organisms appear to move as one, their minds seemingly connected by an invisible network. Dr. Couzin’s lecture will provide a visual guide to ‘collective animal behavior,’ using the latest imaging technologies to reveal how and why animals exhibit collective motion, the huge impact swarms have on human life, and the remarkable collective sensing and decision-making capabilities that have arisen in animal groups.

Dr. Couzin is a National Geographic Explorer and has won multiple awards for his research including the Searle Scholar Award, Popular Science’s “Brilliant 10” Award and the Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London.

[Video and text source: Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience YouTube channel]