The physics of heavy metal \m/

Wetwebwork from London, U.K.

The American Physical Society March Meeting 2013 (Monday–Friday, March 18–22, 2013, Baltimore, Maryland), is going to be focused on the physics of behavior. One abstract caught my eye…

Mosh pits and Circle pits: Collective motion at heavy metal concerts
Matthew Bierbaum , Jesse L. Silverberg , James P. Sethna and Itai Cohen

Heavy metal concerts present an extreme environment in which large crowds (∼10^2−10^5) of humans experience very loud music (∼130dB) in sync with bright, flashing lights, often while intoxicated. In this setting, we find two types of collective motion: mosh pits, in which participants collide with each other randomly in a manner resembling an ideal gas, and circle pits, in which participants run collectively in a circle forming a vortex of people. We model these two collective behaviors using a flocking model and find qualitative and quantitative agreement with the behaviors found in videos of metal concerts. Furthermore, we find a phase diagram showing the transition from a mosh pit to a circle pit as well as a predicted third phase, lane formation.

The preprint
Their presentation is based on a preprint on the arXiv “Collective Motion of Moshers at Heavy Metal Concerts” [1]. Using videos publicly available online, they study the highly energized collective motion of attendees at heavy metal concerts.

They model the behavior at heavy metal concerts and find a disordered gas-like state, commonly known as a mosh pit and an ordered vortex-like state known as a circle pit.

[1] Jesse L. Silverberg, Matthew Bierbaum, James P. Sethna, Itai Cohen, Collective Motion of Moshers at Heavy Metal Concerts, arXiv:1302.1886 [physics.soc-ph]

Mosh pits and Circle pits: Collective motion at heavy metal concerts

e-Mentoring Network in the Mathematical Sciences

maths blog

Ricardo Cortez of Tulane University, and Dagan Karp of Harvey Mudd College have set up a blog that address questions that students, postdoctoral researchers and junior faculty may have regarding their advancement in mathematics. The blog is part of the American Mathematical Society blogs and I am sure will become a very useful resource.

Ricardo Cortez
Dagan Karp

An extract from the first post

Two years ago, at the 2011 Joint Mathematics Meetings in New Orleans, I attended a panel discussion sponsored by the MAA. The session title was “Good intentions are necessary but not sufficient: Steps toward best practices in mentoring underrepresented students” and one of the goals of the session was to propose specific ideas that could be implemented as a result of the comments made by panelists and participants. In other words, there was a desire to go beyond offering opinions and advice. There was a desire to come up with concrete actions. I really liked the idea.

Ricardo Cortez, Building a community of mentors

e-Mentoring Network in the Mathematical Sciences

Lords publishes report on Open Access

The House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee has published a report focusing on the implementation of the Government Open Access policy.

The debating chamber of the House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster

Things the report covers includes arrangements for article processing charge funds, international issues and risks for learned societies, such as the Institute of Physics and the London Mathematical Society.

The implementation of open access (Opens PDF)