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To push one’s way through a crowd…

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Making your way through a dense crowd is not an easy task. A distressed person seeking assistance or a public figure wanting to pass through a crowd of supporters are facing various scenarios. The motion of an individual in a crowd is studied for several scenarios using a 2D non-inertial mechanical model of interacting rigid disks solved with numerical simulation.

When the crowd is static (for example at a parade or a concert), people may be more or less reluctant to move away from their position and let you pass. You can then associate some rigidity to the crowd. Depending on this rigidity, should you try to go around people or should you ask them to move ?
Or when a rock-star wants to cross a crowd of converging fans, once surrounded by his/her fans, how many fans does it take for the rock star to be unable to move ?

These issues are studied in a recent publication in Europhysics Letters

View online : How to push one’s way through a dense crowd, Thibaut Métivet, Leonardo Pastorello et Philippe Peyla, EPL (2018)