The Science of Mosh Pits

The science of mosh pits: apparently there’s more to it than drunk shirtless guys running in circles and skinny waifs crowd surfing on a bunch of unenthusiastic concert goers. Two graduate students from Cornell University presented a paper on the science of mosh pits last week at a physics conference. Jesse Silverberg, an avid concert-goer and mosher, said he came up with the idea that the pit was similar to gas molecules in motion five years ago while watching the pit from a distance.

So Silverberg and his colleague Matt Bierbaum decided to go to a bunch of death metal, hardcore, and punk shows–for science! Literally though, the two apparently measured things like crowd density and other variables to create a mathematical formula for the pit. So using their findings, which were all on their own time–no tax dollars were used here–they created a mosh pit simulator which can replicate different scenarios based on the different variables.

So, what’s the point here? Well, I don’t really know, besides it being kind of cool. In the science world, however, the two students believe that this model could be used in studying panic movements during emergencies or riots. The governing physics might be able to provide insight into how people react in these situations, so the pair will be continuing their “research” by attending more shows to “study.” Is it just me or can you specifically visualize a dude with glasses and a clipboard getting tossed around like a hot potato? Kind of funny.

Mosh2NEW

Check out the mosh simulator here.

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