Fireflies at the Fira de la Ciència

A couple of months ago, some nice guys of the IFISC (Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Physics and Complex Systems) contacted me. They saw the Synchronizing Fireflies and wanted them to demonstrate how simple rules can make patterns emerge from chaos. The main research of the institute is in Nonlinear Physics and Complex Systems.

But why would they want electronic gimicks? Every year, there is a science fair, the “Fira de la ciència” in Palma de Mallorca. The fair is aimed at young students, to introduce them to science with many hands-on projects and experiments. The IFISC is part of this fair and decided to use my fireflies as a demonstration of self organizing systems for one of their projects.

It took a while to figure out how to present the fireflies best. Here are two pictures of the palm tree to which the fireflies are tied. Great idea and it came out really beautiful.

For the fair they built a small cubicle with the palm tree inside. The cubicle was neccessary because the fireflies need an almost pitch back environment to see each other flashes.

As the fair was at Palma de Mallorca, I couldn’t resist to see it in person. Last week my girlfriend and I took some days off and travelled to Mallorca. We visited the fair and met some really nice staff members of IFISC. And there it was, a tiny black cube with a palm tree and fireflies within. Wohoo!

After all I have to say thank you all so much for the warm welcome and showing and explaining all your projects. Thanks for the cool t-shirt, I feel almost as a IFISC member now ;-)
And especially thanks to Pep for pushing this project further and further and making it possible. It has been a fantastic experience. You guys rock.



  1. Dear Alex, it was great to have you and your girlfriend at the Science Fair. Your fireflies were really a success and everybody enjoyed with them! It was a little unfortunate that we did not acknowledge you explicitly in the poster (but we will do in the movies we are preparing!!!). It was a pleasure to collaborate with you and I hope we can continue the collaboration in the future… and you will be always welcome to the IFISC !


  2. Dear Claudio, thanks a lot!
    It would be a pleasure for me, if we could do another project together.


  3. Glückwunsch, dass deine tolle Arbeit auch so angemessen gewürdigt wurde. In der Palme kommen die Fireflies noch wesentlich besser zur Geltung ^_^


  4. Hi Alex,

    Thanks for this blog entry, it is so nice! It was fun to watch the video as well. I totally agree with Claudio, the fireflies were much appreciated and it was indeed a pleasure to get to meet you. We would like to encourage you to carry on in the same enthusiastic way and I do look forward to start further projects together.




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