by Miles Raymer
But physics can also be surprisingly interesting on the humble scale of our everyday lives. Did you know that the same kind of fluid dynamics used to predict weather patterns can also model how all the peanuts in your snack mix ended up at the bottom of the bag? Or that when you look at the behavior of individuals in a mosh pit, the thing it most resembles, physics-wise, is the movement of molecules in a gas?
This is what a metal-loving grad student at Cornell, Jesse Silverberg, discovered when he ran video of mosh pits in action through software intended to model the flow of fluids. By tweaking different parameters, Silverberg and his colleagues were even able to get their computer-modeled moshers to spontaneously organize themselves into a circle pit, and they discovered that, given the right conditions, a pit might suddenly coordinate into something called a "lane formation," which has possibly never happened before. Which means that, incredibly, physics has given us entirely theoretical mosh-pit formations, which is currently blowing the fuck out of my mind.