Amazing film of synchronised gnomes….


I am co-author on a paper that is published today in the academic journal PLoSONE.  The study describes three attempted replications of Daryl Bem’s psi studies.  Chris French has written a nice piece in the Guardian about here.

Now then, you are probably wondering what happens when you randomly start some metronomes and then place them all on the same rolling system.  Wonder no more….

My thanks to Martin B for bringing this to me attention.  Surprised by the film?


26 comments on “Amazing film of synchronised gnomes….

  1. Michael Sternberg says:

    A classic and fine demonstration of weakly coupled oscillators.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, it’s an example of a coupled oscillator. The supporting base table must allow slight movements in order to achieve phase synchro.

  2. Damn, I was expecting real gnomes!

  3. JohnLoony says:

    Reminds me of the Millennium Bridge.

  4. Gouri al-Fahan says:

    I thought this would happen, but I have no idea how it works.

  5. Smarty says:

    Surprised that I fell asleep towards the end.

  6. Lazy T says:

    Very interesting.
    would putting rollers under musicians help them stay in time?

  7. Todio says:

    My guess is that the forces of each individual pendulum, pushing the system to the left or the right to overcome the inertia of the board on the rollers, eventually builds up, subtly either adding or subtracting (most likely subtracting) energy from each individual metronome slowing or speeding (most likely slowing) the pendulum until they are all synchronized at which time the system (including the board on the rollers) reaches a kind of equilibrium. Note at a couple of times they almost achieve equilibrium but one is still out of sync.

    Would it be possible (with an even # of metronomes evenly spaced on the board) to achieve a stable equilibrium with half going one way (L-R-L-R…) and the other half going the other way (R-L-R-L…)?

    • The Masked Twit says:

      That’s all very well, but I was hoping to hear them sing Hi Ho, Hi Ho It’s Off To Work We Go

  8. wintermute115 says:

    What happens if you use metronomes with different periods?

    • The other Matt says:

      In this video they ARE different, slightly. Compare the most left one with the left one: From 0:44 they start try to do her different periods.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Science is so much more interesting than the make believe world of pseudo-science and religion. Such a shame so many people never grasp that.

  10. Greg23 says:

    Not the same thing but it did remind me of this very cool (IMO) visual effect.

  11. Phil says:

    If I was asked “Will they synchronise?” I would have assumed that it seems most likely. Physics tends to find an equilibrium over time. Nice video.

  12. Jane says:

    They didn’t synchronise – it’s an illusion – surely? They synchronised momentarily, but I think that would happen anyway.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Netvirus Retrovirus


    Aparente y alegadamente sospecho tener una telepatia en la que supuestamente soy la primera persona en hacer imagenes impresionantes (hay unas voces que dicen ser psiquiatras telepatas y me dejaron saber eso) ademas poder mover (extremidades superiores, extremidades inferiores, etc.) a un individuo del genero masculino al igual que el a mi, ademas al parecer cuando siento su presencia mi corazon late extranamente y mi respiracion puede aparente y alegadamente ser controlada por el y por mi (yo controlo la del y el la mia).
    Soy de Aguada, Puerto Rico y mi direccion es BO Malpaso vivo en un apartamento alquilado con mi madre de referencia ahi negocios en los bajos del apartamento un centro de Toyota y el dueno es el Sr. Claudio es un negociante de aguada no es el alcalde.
    Le escribo porque deseo conocer mas sobre telepatia y saber si es normal el que, segun los psiquiatras telepatas, uno pueda hacer imagenes y extenderlas y relizar diferentes efectos de movimientos de diferentes personas en la imagen de manera simultanea, ademas de poner imagenes de paisajes reales modificandolos (eliminando los carros y casas) y proyectandolos en el cristal delantero y lateral de otro vehiculo donde se encontraban los psiquiatras telepatas y el individuo de genero masculino que mencione anteriormente,
    Gracias, espero su respuesta…
    Mi nombre es Maria de los Angeles Perez Torres. 🙂
    email: es

  14. Peter Leeson says:

    This is a similar phenomenon to the one that forced the engineers to revisit the construction of the “millenium bridge” in London as everyone started unconsciously walking in step to overcome the vibrations of the bridge, thus making the bridge sway dangerously…

  15. way too old says:

    As yesterday… a bit more recent but this is a blog not a history lesson…
    Uploaded by needypoo on May 1, 2011

  16. @techiebird says:

    I remember hearing that pendulum clocks on the same shelf will keep time with each other. I assumed it to be correct (given that the difference in timing would be small, it seems reasonable the vibration from the others would be enough to counteract it).

    I’d be interested to know if that’s also true.

  17. Donald says:

    I wanted to try that, but I only had one metronome!

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