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Musicals are pretty ridiculous—in real life, two people eating breakfast don’t suddenly leap up onto the table, burst into harmony, and start moving their limbs in sync. The world is more chaotic than that, right? But when you consider the random at closer or farther range, there is an order even to chaos: a heart’s pacemaker cells beat evenly; a group of fireflies flash in unison; planets dutifully follow their orbits. In his new book, Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order, mathematician and chaos theorist Steven Strogatz explains the phenomenon of natural synchronicity with such concepts as “coupled oscillators” and “quantum choruses.” But what really makes me wish I paid attention in calculus is the term “cosmic ballet,” which refers to the various micro- and macroscopic impulses that create a kind of universal musical that, albeit imperceptibly, makes sense. Strogatz is in town at 6:30 p.m. at the Freer Gallery of Art’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th Street and Jefferson Drive SW. $15. For reservations call (202) 357-3030. (Anne Marson)