Up the Downstair

Being a weeklie podcaste from Madison, Wisconsin featuring several remarkable curiosities therein occurring being a compendium of live music from divers artistes

The Physics of a Mosh Pit

February 21st, 2013

Science has turned its gaze to mosh pits and the results are in: people in a mosh pit behave like 2D gas particles.

The collective behaviour of moshers at heavy metal rock concerts is similar to the way particles move in a disordered 2D gas, new research reveals.

Physicists at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, who studied the movements of concert-goers caught up in chaotic-looking mosh pits found they actually follow a certain logic.

I love articles like this one because they’re written for a general audience and explain phenomena that I know well as if they were exotic and foreign.

Crowds at heavy metal concerts often firm circles called mosh pits where they violently lunge and bounce off one and other with their arms flaying and their legs kicking.

‘Often resulting in injuries, the collective mood is influenced by the combination of loud, fast music (130 dB, 350 beats per minute), synchronised with bright, flashing lights, and frequent intoxication,’ the study notes.

However, while the movements appear to be chaotic and random, Mr Silverman and his colleagues claim that there is actually a logic which enables them to statistically predict the ways in which moshers move.

Check out the article. There’s more on where the researchers got the idea and you can try out the Cornell University teams mosh pit simulator.


moshpit The Physics of a Mosh Pit

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