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the physics of moshing according to a Cornell grad student

Stage-diver at Cro-Mags, Chaos in Tejas 2011 (more by Fred Pessaro // BBG)
Mosher

A Cornell Physics grad student took his girlfriend to her first metal show, and as with any good scientist he examined the patterns that took place in the melee. We quote:

Being a physicist first and a mosher second (“fieldwork was independently funded”), the student, Jesse Silverberg, can’t help but notice curious patterns in what had always felt like the epitome of chaos. “Being on the outside for the first time, I was absolutely amazed at what I saw — there were all sorts of collective behaviors emerging that I never would have noticed from the inside.” So for an even better perspective, he turns to YouTube, to figure out what happens to people under the “extreme conditions” borne of a combination of “loud, fast music (130 dB, 350 beats per minute) … bright, flashing lights, and frequent intoxication.”

..Moshers, as they “move randomly, colliding with one another in an undirected fashion,” seem a lot like gas particles, the researchers note. Or, as Silverberg explained to me: “It turns out that the statistical description we use for gasses matches the behavior of people in mosh pits. In other words, people bounce around like the molecules in a gas” -[The Atlantic]

Incendentally, the girlfriend (read: test subject) hasn’t returned to a metal show since.

Thx Caroline!

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