G.S. Mudur in The Telegraph: Tiny brass pins or a flock of birds. A story featuring recent research from Prof. Ajay Sood’s group.
In his physics laboratory, Ajay Sood watches hundreds of tiny brass pins spontaneously align themselves into flower-shaped patterns in experiments where he’s coaxed non-living matter to behave like flocks of birds flying in synchrony.
The millimetre-sized tapered pins, initially scattered in a disordered manner on a smooth metal surface, jump into action when the surface vibrates and align themselves within seconds into a highly-ordered pattern, as if each pin knows exactly where to go.