According To Science, Mosh Pits Can Save Lives

May 14, 2019

Believe it or not, there is actually some scientific reasoning behind why a mosh pit acts the way it does at a concert. At first glance, it just looks like loud, sweaty chaos. But according to scientists from Cornell University, moshers appear to follow the same logic as natural gaseous particles. Scientists believe that by studying how large crowds of people behave in an emergency situation, they can create better evacuation strategies that can lead to saving many lives.

According to Jesse Silverberg, a Cornell grad student in physics and frequent mosher, there was a natural logic behind how and why a mosh pit acts the way they do. After studying many videos on YouTube of moshers bumping and crashing into each other during a concert, Silverberg and his team then replicated the moshers' movements on a two-dimensional plane. In the simulation, the found that the activity seen in the pit appeared very similar to atoms moving freely in gas.

The simulation contained two different circles representing people at a concert. The red circles were dubbed "Mobile Active Simulated Humanoid (aka "MASHers"), and the white circles represented the stationary audience members that are, at most, just banging their heads to the music. By speeding up the activity in the pit, the simulation showed how the peaceful circles may get caught up in the ensuing chaos.

The MASHers in the simulation also mimicked the vortexes that are formed mosh pits, following the same physical laws to flocks of birds and schools of fish. "In the mathematical modeling of the crowd, we didn't insert circle pits. We didn't insert the statistics of gases. Those were the things that emerged naturally. These were predictions that the model makes."

Based on their findings, Silverberg believes that the socially extreme circumstances of a mosh pit at a concert could help researchers design more effective exit strategies and evacuation routes that could save many lives in case of an emergency.