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The Physics of Mosh Pits

So are we just like moving particles when we mosh? This very serious study by Cornell University seems to have demonstrated so! According to the New Scientist, people in mosh pits move just like atoms in a gas. This is what happens when you send a graduate student in Physics at a metal concert. Jesse Silverberg went to a concert with his girlfriend and had a revelation: ‘I didn't want to put her in harm's way, so we stood off to the side. I'm usually in the mosh pit, but for the first time I was off to the side and watching. I was amazed at what I saw.’

He wondered if the mathematical laws that apply to group behavior in flocks of birds could also describe what he was seeing, so he got the idea to use software developed for analyzing particles in a fluid to track moshers’ motions! Surprisingly, he found out that the moshers had the same statistical distribution as the speeds of atoms in a gas! But Silverberg  added, ‘This presented a bit of a mystery. What makes a crowd of people with independent decision-making powers behave like a random gas?’ To answer the question, he and another student built this simulation you can watch below.

‘The fact that human beings are very complex creatures, and yet we can develop a lifeless computer simulation that mimics their behavior, really tells us that we're understanding something new about the behavior of crowds that we didn't understand before, commented James Sethna, the co-author of the article. They even think their project could have some implications for crowd animators and architects in terms of safety.

How funny it is they could apply some physical laws to such crazy and erratic dance! And all these tough guys who thought they were behaving like badass dancers, they just behave like gases, gas atoms moving randomly!

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