Are humans that different from gas particles? Not according to these physicists. They carefully studied online videos of mosh pits at heavy metal concerts, measured the motions of each participant, and then determined how well their data fit simplified models of particle physics. Amazingly, the best fit for mosh pits was to the Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution, which “describes particle speeds in gases, where the particles move freely without interacting with one another, except for very brief elastic collisions in which they may exchange momentum and kinetic energy, but do not change their respective states of intramolecular excitation” Sounds like a mosh pit to me!
Collective Motion of Humans in Mosh and Circle Pits at Heavy Metal Concerts
“Human collective behavior can vary from calm to panicked depending on social context. Using videos publicly available online, we study the highly energized collective motion of attendees at heavy metal concerts. We find these extreme social gatherings generate similarly extreme behaviors: a disordered gaslike state called a mosh pit and an ordered vortexlike state called a circle pit. Both phenomena are reproduced in flocking simulations demonstrating that human collective behavior is consistent with the predictions of simplified models.”
Bonus figure from the main text:
Thanks to Thomas for the tip!
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