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5th December 2014, 12:14pm
Christmas Lecture to reveal why bird flocks move in unison
Flocking birds The reasons behind impressive formations of flocking birds, or schools of fish swimming in unison, will be discussed at the University of Lincoln’s Mathematics Christmas Lecture this month.

The talk will examine how and why such occurrences – which can also include the movements of human crowds and groups of bacteria – take place. Researchers in the field say that this so-called active matter form movements which make them appear to be a single organism, and is at the forefront of modern interdisciplinary research.

The lecture, 'Amazing flocking of birds: is it biology or mathematics?', will take place on Wednesday 17th December 2014 at 3pm in the Engineering Hub (ENG208) on the University’s main Brayford Campus.

It will be delivered by Professor Andrei Zvelindovsky, the Founding Head of the School of Mathematics and Physics at the University of Lincoln.

He said: "We all wonder why starlings flock in the sky: is it some mysterious collective intelligence of birds, which creates wonderfully complex patterns, or is it something really simple, like mathematical rules? This lecture will seek to explain how mathematics can help to decode some of these fairly complicated behaviours.”

Professor Zvelindovsky, a computational and theoretical physicist, is a specialist in applied mathematics and holds Fellowships with the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the Institute of Physics. He has worked in the Ukraine, Japan and the Netherlands, and secured funding for his research from both the EU and the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The lecture is being offered in association with the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA).

Attendance is free, but booking is essential as places are limited. To book e-mail Helen Lonsdale at

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