On Emerging Coherence

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Science  20 Dec 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5602, pp. 2336-2337
DOI: 10.1126/science.1072560

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Large populations of similar oscillators can spontaneously get into step with each other, once their coupling exceeds a critical threshold. In his Perspective, Winfree discusses examples of such "emerging coherence," from rhythmic clapping and circadian clocks to oscillating reactions in nanodroplets suspended in oil. He highlights a recent study of emerging coherence in an electrochemical system that achieved sufficient accuracy to test the prevailing theory.