2000
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Statistical Physics

Physics of the rhythmic applause

Abstract
We report on a series of measurements aimed to characterize the development and the dynamics of the rhythmic applause in concert halls. Our results demonstrate that while this process shares many characteristics of other systems that are known to synchronize, it also has features that are unexpected and unaccounted for in many other systems. In particular, we find that the mechanism lying at the heart of the synchronization process is the period doubling of the clapping rhythm. The characteristic interplay between synchronized and unsynchronized regimes during the applause is the result of a frustration in the system. All results are understandable in the framework of the Kuramoto model.

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