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Snowflakes. Credit: Nick Ford.

"The result was that a percussive rhythm emerged, one that I hadn't created myself." 

A musician pays homage to emergence by programming his drum synths to sift out a beat from the random noise of raindrops on his roof. 

There is nothing chaotic about gravity.

There's an ongoing debate about whether gravity itself is an emergent—rather than fundamental—force in the universe.

The theory, which supposes energy arranges itself so as to maximize entropy, seems to have been disproven last year by experimental data, a few years after being feted as the next big thing.


Creatures, cities, and storms self-organize, with low-level rules giving rise to higher-level sophistication. Entirely new properties and behaviors “emerge,” with no one directing and no one able to foresee the new characteristics from knowledge of the constituents alone. The whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

Learn to spot emergence with 10 examples from NOVA.
↩︎ PBS
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