What do concert mosh pits and atoms in a gas have in common?


"Chemical reaction: 'Moshers' behave in similar ways to atoms in a gas" (Ulrike Biets)Source: ABC Science
“Chemical reaction: ‘Moshers’ behave in similar ways to atoms in a gas” (Ulrike Biets)
Source: ABC Science

ABC Science reveals studies comparing human behavior in a mosh pit at a heavy metal concert with that of atoms acting within gas.

The article is titled, “Mosh pit madness… it’s a gas.”

ABC journalist Dani Cooper writes:

In a study recently published online at arXiv.orgCornell University graduate students Jesse Silverberg and Matthew Bierbaum, say that like atoms, “moshers” reach a state of equilibrium.

The study originated when Silverberg took his girlfriend to a heavy metal concert, but in deference to her, stayed out of the mosh pit.

The mosh pit comparison could lead to new “Architectural safety design principles,” Cooper writes of the study.

It turns out that the “speed distribution” between excited gas atoms and mosh pit behavior reach an equilibrium despite the unkempt pandemonium.  Cooper continues:

Silverberg says the next issue was to understand why “an inherently non-equilibrium system exhibits equilibrium characteristics”.

To answer this question Bierbaum developed a flocking simulation – that describes the collective movement of groups such as birds and fish – and found the behaviour in the mosh pits was consistent with the predictions of this model.

I guess, once an atom, always an atom.



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