Condensed Matters, created by Nadja Ortelt, founder of Massive Science, is an animated series of complex scientific ideas made small. Big ideas are condensed into their most essential form by scientists and experts who exist intimately beside them. In this episode, created in partnership with Pioneer Works, data and behavioral researcher Simon Garnier and biologist and entomologist Corrie Moreau discuss the peculiar emergence of swarm behavior in the natural world. Is this collective, directed behavior a form of intelligence?

Animator Brian Smee, who animated and directed the video of Corrie and Simon’s research, described the process of translating their research.

"The relatively abstract material spoken in the piece enabled me as a filmmaker to look for different ways to draw ‘swarm communication’. I take the metro in my city a lot and that became an immediate point of inspiration when thinking about swarms in spaces...I wanted the animation to move along as if you were working your way through a map or trail."

Smee created the animation in flash, then color separated, printed and scanned the work so that the final image was close to the size of a postage stamp or baseball card.

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The Pioneer Works Broadcast is supported in part by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology, bridging the two cultures of science and the arts.