The Fast Wandering of Slow Birds

Toner, John
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I study a single "slow" bird moving with a flock of birds of a different, and faster (or slower) species. I find that every "species" of flocker has a characteristic speed $\gamma\ne v_0$, where $v_0$ is the mean speed of the flock, such that, if the speed $v_s$ of the "slow" bird equals $\gamma$, it will randomly wander transverse to the mean direction of flock motion far faster than the other birds will: its mean-squared transverse displacement will grow in $d=2$ with time $t$ like $t^{5/3}$, in contrast to $t^{4/3}$ for the other birds. In $d=3$, the slow bird's mean squared transverse displacement grows like $t^{5/4}$, in contrast to $t$ for the other birds. If $v_s\neq \gamma$, the mean-squared displacement of the "slow" bird crosses over from $t^{5/2}$ to $t^{4/3}$ scaling in $d=2$, and from $t^{5/4}$ to $t$ scaling in $d=3$, at a time $t_c$ that scales according to $t_c \propto|v_s-\gamma|^{-2}$.
Comment: 10 pages; 5 pages of which did not appear in earlier versions, but were added in response to referee's suggestions
Condensed Matter - Other Condensed Matter