Edit: Ah well, i always thought a paper would be like a diploma or similar, turns out it is a 2 and a half page article written by 4(!) people who watched youtube to simulate red dots in a mass of black dots. Anyway, i'm underwhelmed.
So long as the work is rigorous there's nothing wrong with studying collective motion of moshers at heavy metal concerts.
It doesn't have to be world-changing or life-saving to be interesting (though those things certainly don't hurt... usually).
Call me when you find stadiums build on Jesse Silverbergs great principle of MASHers, that save so many lives.
To me it's a shame that this appears publicly posted on a universities site. I suppose that, for this to happen, a Professor must have agreed and supported this paper.. ugh.
P.S.: I do understand very well that simulation of crowds, especially in buildings, is very important but i feel that this is making fun of serious scientists putting real effort into such work.
After that he might think about what similarities there are between moshpits and high energy particles in a nuclear fusion kind of environment, and if that could be simulated in the same manner.
Feynman worked on the plates problem just for his own, he didn't intent to publish a paper on "how does a sign on a plate look when the plate wobbles" and certainly he didn't expect people to tell him how important his scientific research on plates could be for the world :P
In fact, it's not even a realistic simulation. I think you may agree when you have ever been at a heavy metal concert.
If you read the research group's page about their mosh pits research you'll find that their intention is to model the behaviour of riots (as in the potentially dangerous situations that sometimes erupt from large gatherings of people).
Not that it needs any relation to real world problems for it to be qualified as science.
Link here: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21729055.700-mosh-pit-....
It mentions that the physics studied here could have practical applications in emergency planning. Answering questions like, "How does a chaotic crowd behave in an emergency?".
"Toxic Waltz" by Exodus. Great song, fantastic album.
You think that, you're really hard
You think that you can mosh
Got your suspenders, and got your boots
You'd better wear armor, you fuckin' fool
WE MOSH, until we die,
WE MOSH, until you try.
You think, that you can try,
But can you do ... the MILANO MOSH !
edit: Oh well, 2007 was a much better year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qs0LvyuiqjM&feature=play...
Shit... that's 20 years old.
That's a surprisingly common, yet elusive and involved inquiry in the philosophy of science.
Rather, than attempting to reach consensus on what "Science" is, perhaps we should be interested in research that aims to follow the scientific method and related principles, irrespective of the subject matter?