Get Ready to Flash Your Intelligence

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Don’t miss out on a chance to participate in a unique event that brings together public art and science in an innovative way.

“Group Intelligence,” a flash-mob inspired MP3 experience is coming to Atlanta this month, sponsored by the Out of Hand Theater and the Center for Chemical Evolution. The center is a collaboration of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA.

The first “Group Intelligence” flash mob will be held at the Emory quad at 7 p.m. April 14-16.  Group Intelligence will spread to downtown Atlanta’s Woodruff Park at 7 p.m. April 21-23. From there, the mob will go international to the Oreol Festival in the Netherlands this June.

This experiment in the convergence of science and art will help participants understand the behavior of molecules.

Once participants have registered for one of six performances, they receive an MP3 track to download, or they sign up to borrow an MP3 player at the event. Following cues on the MP3 track, participants transform into performers and a spontaneous spectacle unfolds for onlookers.

During the experience, participants travel together, solve problems, do a little work, have a lot of fun, build something extraordinary together and ultimately, achieve "Group Intelligence." How hard they work is up to each individual, but the diversity of the group is key.

“The behavior of a group of molecules can be much more complex than the individual molecules alone, much more than the sum of its parts,” said Martha Grover, Georgia Tech associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and member of the Center for Chemical Evolution.  “This is especially true when the group contains a diverse set of molecules.”

“A similar emergence of complexity occurs in groups of people.  In ‘Group Intelligence’, the participants will actively experience this important scientific concept.  We think this will be more effective than simply lecturing about it.  We also think it will be more fun,” Grover added.

The “Group Intelligence” performances are free and open to the public, including children ages 12 and older. Visit the Out of Hand Theater website to register.  

The Center for Chemical Evolution strives to educate the public on current scientific theories pertaining to the chemical origins of life and early evolution.

By participating in “Group Intelligence,” two things will be clear:  Order comes out of disorder and chemistry is much more fascinating than we ever imagined.

“All too often, science is seen as dull and irrelevant to our daily lives,” said Meisa Salaita, coordinator for education, outreach and diversity at the Center for Chemical Evolution.  “By working with a group like Out of Hand Theater, we are able to work on reversing this bad reputation, bringing our science out to the public in a way that is fun and non-threatening – teaching them about the scientific advances we are making thanks to their tax dollars. “ 




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