Month: April 2007

Formula for Panic: Crowd-Motion Findings May Prevent Stampedes

Millions participate in  the symbolic Stoning of the Pillars during Hajj every year. Credit: RFE/EPA

Wherever dense crowds gather, an eruption of panic can have deadly consequences, as in the stampede that killed hundreds during a mass pilgrimage to Mecca in 2006. With methods from the physics of fluids, scientists have now dissected the events of that tragic day and come up with recommendations that may have contributed to making this year’s pilgrimage proceed smoothly.
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