Reuters - Video

EDITION: U.S. | U.K. | IN

Moments of Innovation

Mosh pit physics sheds light on strategies for crowd control

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 03:02

May 14 - Mosh-pits at heavy metal concerts may seem chaotic but, according to researchers at Cornell University, they are governed by the same laws of physics that govern the behaviour of gas particles. The researchers say law enforcement officials could apply the lessons of the mosh-pit in creating new strategies for crowd control. Sharon Reich has more.

▲ Hide Transcript

View Transcript

Mosh pits are better organized than you might think. Scientists at Cornell University say that while large groups of flailing heavy metal fans may look chaotic, they are governed by the same laws of physics that determine the movement of gas particles. In a research paper using Youtube moshpit videos as a reference , Jesse Silverberg says that those laws of physics could be applied by security forces to prevent panic and violence in large crowds. (SOUDNBITE) CORNELL UNIVESRITY GRADUATE STUDENT AND RESEARCHER JESSE SILVERBERG SAYING: "The collective motion of people depend on social circumstances. at one end you have people walking down street, they form lanes so they don't bump into each other. At the other end at riots and protests you ahve people who get jammed, crushed or there's a stampede. So what we learn from the physics of moshpits, is that by studying how people behave in extreme social situations found at heavy metal concerts we get a lens into how people will behave in other similiarly extreme situations like riots and protests and situations of escape panic." Silverberg broke the mosh pit down by studying the videos and then creating computerized mosh pit simulations based on a few rules - namely that people collide and that they want to move but do so in a random manner. They then added flocking terms, which illustrate that people want to move in the same direction as those around them. (SOUDNBITE) CORNELL UNIVESRITY GRADUATE STUDENT AND RESEARCHER JESSE SILVERBERG SAYING: "We focused on two distincly different types of collective behavior. One of them, which is called a mosh pit, is this very random mess of people bouncing around and jumping into and bouncing off each other its' just this total mess. On the other hand there is a very ordered type of collective motion where people run around in a circle. There will be this giant vortex of humans. And the really cool thing we found in our simulation is that we were able to reproduce both behaviors just by changing a single number." That discovery came as a surprise, and turned what began as a fun project into something Silverberg's adviser Itai Cohen says, has potential application in the real world. (SOUDNBITE) (English) ITAI COHEN, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF PHYSICS AT CORNELL UNIVESRITY SAYING: "If we could understand how to move between the mosh pit, which is this random motion to the vortex state, which is this herding motion where you can get a stampede and people getting hurt, if you could control that transition then that would have serious implications for crowd control. Could you put a post somewhere, an architectural design piece, that would essentially prevent the crowd from nucleating a stampede in some place. Could you in the way that salt prevents crystallization of water in some way inhibit the formation of stampedes." The Cornell team say their research is still in its infancy but hope, with more mosh-pit experience under their belts, to shed even more light on the science of headbanging.

Press CTRL+C (Windows), CMD+C (Mac), or long-press the URL below on your mobile device to copy the code

Mosh pit physics sheds light on strategies for crowd control

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 03:02

Top News »

Retirement »

Back to work- in retirement Back to work- in retirement

Wed, Oct 15, 2014 - (2:09)

Investing 201 »

Bond investors brace for the end of Fed stimulus Bond investors brace for the end of Fed...

Fri, Oct 10, 2014 - (4:03)

Arian Foster = BlackBerry? Arian Foster = BlackBerry?

Fri, Oct 25, 2013 - (3:16)

Don’t miss these red flags for IPOs Don’t miss these red flags for IPOs

Thu, Oct 10, 2013 - (2:34)

Copycat currency trading Copycat currency trading

Wed, Oct 02, 2013 - (2:28)

When to dump a winner When to dump a winner

Tue, Sep 24, 2013 - (1:55)

Where gold might again attract Jim Rogers Where gold might again attract Jim Rogers

Thu, Sep 19, 2013 - (2:05)

Why savings interest rates won't budge Why savings interest rates won't budge

Fri, Sep 13, 2013 - (2:09)

Buy local? ETFs try the trend Buy local? ETFs try the trend

Thu, Sep 05, 2013 - (2:42)

Money Clip »

Will Apple Pay transform mobile payments? Will Apple Pay transform mobile payments?

Thu, Oct 16, 2014 - (2:45)

3 things to do before disaster strikes 3 things to do before disaster strikes

Wed, Sep 18, 2013 - (1:39)

Your must-do money list Your must-do money list

Wed, Sep 11, 2013 - (1:24)

The worst "best" financial advice The worst "best" financial advice

Wed, Sep 04, 2013 - (1:42)

Forget gold: The case for REITs Forget gold: The case for REITs

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 - (1:19)

3 rules for buying a house now 3 rules for buying a house now

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 - (1:39)

Reuters Investigates »

Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead" Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead"

Wed, Feb 19, 2014 - (8:24)

Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest

Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - (4:01)

"Passed around like a dog" "Passed around like a dog"

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (6:32)

Adopted, then abandoned online Adopted, then abandoned online

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (13:21)

How the DEA keeps its secrets secret How the DEA keeps its secrets secret

Mon, Aug 05, 2013 - (1:36)

How education lost its role as the great equalizer - Reuters Investigates How education lost its role as the great...

Mon, Dec 17, 2012 - (7:52)

Jihad Jane: From abused child to American jihadist - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: From abused child to American...

Sat, Dec 08, 2012 - (10:01)

Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters...

Sun, Dec 09, 2012 - (10:39)

Moving Pictures »

Dance of the northern lights Dance of the northern lights

Mon, Oct 20, 2014 - (1:08)

Images of September Images of September

Wed, Oct 01, 2014 - (1:00)

Still missing – MH370 Still missing – MH370

Fri, Sep 05, 2014 - (2:05)

Burning Together Burning Together

Mon, Sep 01, 2014 - (2:23)

Mending dolls, teddies and hearts Mending dolls, teddies and hearts

Fri, Aug 22, 2014 - (3:12)

Images of August Images of August

Fri, Aug 29, 2014 - (1:00)

"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay "Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay

Mon, Aug 11, 2014 - (2:27)

Burned memories Burned memories

Fri, Aug 08, 2014 - (3:02)

Images of July Images of July

Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - (1:20)

World Cup: passion on the pitch World Cup: passion on the pitch

Fri, Jul 11, 2014 - (1:00)