What population physics can tell us about the tragic deaths in Astroworld

Eight dead and 25 in hospital while filming Travis Scott

Whoever launched the festival. In 2018 - it was shown on stage around 9pm. An excited crowd rushed to the scene and closed the mesh hatch so tightly that people couldn't breathe and started fainting. There was nowhere to move, at least eight people were killed and 25 others were taken to hospital.

The Live Nation event organizer released a statement saying it was "sad for those lost and affected in Astroworld" and the company pledged to work fully with local authorities investigating. In the case of Houston's Scott, he declared he was "just broken" in a video he posted to his Instagram account last Saturday night, saying he didn't realize how serious the situation was from his perspective on stage. The rapper doesn't seem reluctant to take to the stage immediately after the disaster: Scott is reported to have canceled a series that was scheduled for the "Day in Vegas" hip-hop festival, and sources have told Vulture that the rapper is "very eager to play." p>

There is still a lot to learn about the state of Astroworld and what really happened that night. But fatal congestion is very common all over the world. In 1979, for example, 11 people were run over during an "He" concert in Cincinnati. In 2000, nine people were run over at a Pearl Jam party at Roskilde Festival in Denmark. And in April of this year in Maroun, Israel, 45 people were killed and 150 injured at the Lag Bomer religious festival.

Travis Scott on stage at the 2021 Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas. . . Zoom / Travis Scott on stage at the Festival Astroworld 2021 in Houston, Texas. Erika Goldring / WireImag

Scientists have been studying population dynamics for decades in the hope of better development. Solutions to prevent this type of disaster usually use computer simulation. Accessing archived videos of such events can be useful, such as videos from the January 2006 Hajj to Mecca. More than two million Sunni Muslims were moving in a certain direction towards the Saudi city. With the path narrow over the Jamarat Bridge, the crowds escalated sharply as people flocked to complete the last symbolic stoning ceremony in Mina before sunset. There was a mob that killed 363 people. (The death toll, though high, is small compared to the 2,400 pilgrims killed at another crowd near Mecca in 2015.) Ad

Derek Halping and Anders Johansson of Dresden University of Technology. An algorithm to track the location and speed of each person in the crowd in 45 minutes. They identified three distinct stages of population movement. The crowd initially moved at a steady speed toward the bridge, but as the density increased, a sudden phase shift occurred in a kind of "stop-and-go" motion. The movement spread as a wave in the same direction as the pilgrims. Population density continues to increase until another abrupt phase change occurs, as pilgrims are randomly moved in all possible directions, and the critical threshold appears to be about six people per square meter (10 square feet). "Researchers believe the disruption may be due to people panicking and pushing in all directions to increase their personal space," Hamish Johnston wrote in Physics World in 2007. meters, tearing clothes and eventually running over hundreds of pilgrims.  The population increase during the 2019 Love Parade in Germany killed 21 people. Here, the police are trying to push people back. Buckle up for a fun escape on Karl Lohr Street. Zoom / Population During the 2019 Love March in Germany, 21 people were killed. Here, police try to fend off people limiting themselves to escape an attack on the Karller Street Markus Matzel / ullstein bild / Getty Images

The Jamrat Bridge scenario is an example of a bottleneck. The Love Parade was held in 2010, a popular music festival. The intensity soon reached dangerous surfaces, and the police tried to prevent more people from entering the dead-end parade Which caused a crowd, and people began to suffocate at five, because thousands more danced in luxury with techno music, unaware of the tragedy that was taking place nearby. In the end, 21 people lost their lives and 651 were injured.

The Astroworld tragedy appears to focus on a crowd huddled in a rat hole rather than the typical bottleneck scenario.A 2013 study of mos dynamics was conducted h-pit by a group of physics students at Cornell University, inspired by one of the writers Jesse Silverberg who attended a heavy metal concert with his girlfriend. He wisely avoided the mouse hole and, like a true physicist, found himself fascinated by the motion of a group resembling the irregular collisions of molecules in a gas. The authors decided to simulate the dynamics of mosh-pit. They took pictures of rock concerts posted on YouTube and used particle-tracking software to turn everyone in this group into individual particles called MASHERS. There were two types of MASHERS: the passive type that remained stationary after a random collision, and the active type that jumped after the collision. The researchers found that when MASHERS was more active than inactive, the residents were actually behaving like molecules in the gas with random collisions. But sometimes, the "deflation" occurs automatically, as engineers begin to follow the movements of their neighbors. In this scenario, vortices - mainly human vortices - are formed.

Of course, people are not particles, and Silverberg et al. They freely admitted that they used very simple mathematical models. Humans are complex and unpredictable, which is why there have been so many recent attempts to incorporate the human factor into population modeling.

For example, a 2015 study by scientists at the University of Technology in Iran created the tool that included so-called "emotional transition". In it, copycats became increasingly frightened and fearful - expressed in increasingly random movement - because they couldn't find a way out of the crowded virtual environment. Similarly, a 2018 study by University of Plymouth researchers found how to measure a population's kinetic energy in real-time video by using it as a benchmark to identify areas where a population is in a dangerous emotional state. A. Physics 2013 Population Simulation The dynamics in heavy metal concerts demonstrated the conditions under which vortices form in a mouse hole.

Dinesh Manucha, a computer scientist at the University of Maryland, has conducted several studies on population behaviour. He sought to incorporate not only physics and physiology, but also psychology into his models. "In many ways, we don't have access to accurate information, the situation and population movement that occurs in such disasters," Manucha told Ars. You will usually hear the experiences of several participants or some separate photos and videos that do not provide all the details. However, there are two factors he has noted over the years in his research that seem to have in common all of these tragedies.

The first factor, as we have seen, is density - in particular, situations that increase population density. More than four people per square meter (43 square feet). “In many ways, every human or pedestrian loses their ability to move independently with such intensity, but becomes part of the macroscopic flow,” says Manucha. "So population tragedies occur more in such scenarios, because humans are unable to escape the population influx."

What population physics can tell us about the tragic deaths in Astroworld
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