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Grad Students Create Mathematical Model of a Mosh Pit

Cornell grad students Matt Bierbaum and Jesse Silverberg have created a mathematical model for a mosh pit; not just a single mosh pit, but presumably any mosh pit taking into account a number of variables such as speed of movement and denseness of crowd and more. Now if only some of these controls could be mapped to logical labels like a "band sucking" slider.

From the NPR article:

About five years ago Silverberg took his girlfriend to her first gig. "Usually I would jump in the mosh pit," he says. "But this time I wanted her to be safe and have a good time, so we stayed out on the side and watched things from there."

While he was watching, he realized that the motion of people in a mosh pit looks kind of like molecules moving in a gas.

"It was basically just this random mess of collisions, which is essentially how you want to think about the gas in the air that we breathe," he says.

Physicists have worked out the basic rules that describe this kind of motion, so Bierbaum and Silverberg decided to look for the rules of motion in moshing. They went to concerts and studied videos from YouTube. Silverberg emphasizes that no tax dollars went toward buying concert tickets — the study is a labor of love.

Using just a few variables, like how fast people moved and how dense the crowd was, Bierbaum and Silverberg created a mathematical model that they presented at this week's March meeting of the American Physical Society. Using a mixture of simulated moshers and standing fans, they could reproduce mosh pits, circle pits and other common collective motions that take place at metal concerts. You can try some simulations for yourself in their mosh pit simulator below.

The model has even been put into an embeddable script, which you can try out and play with below:

Source: I fucking love science

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1 Comment on "Grad Students Model a Mosh Pit"

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1. brandedcfh420 writes:

Interesting

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